The Directors Guild of America has voted to ratify a new labor contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
On Friday evening, as the seventh week of the Writers Guild of America’s ongoing strike was drawing to a close, members of the Directors Guild of America “overwhelmingly” ratified a new labor agreement with the AMPTP that guarantees pay increases and larger residual payouts and includes some language about protections against artificial intelligence tools.
According to the DGA, out of the organization’s 16,321 members who were eligible to vote on the new deal, only 6,728 individuals (41 percent) participated, but the vast majority — 87 percent — of those people voted in favor of the contract. Along with a “substantial increase in the residuals for dramatic programs made for SVOD” services like Netflix and Max stemming from a foreign residual payment structure, the new contract grants assistant directors and unit production managers on scripted dramatic programs made for AVOD services like Freevee and Roku a number of “creative rights protections” and working condition guarantees.
In a statement about the vote, DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter said that she was proud of her fellow guild members and stressed that the new agreement was crafted to ensure that everyone is able to more equitably “share in the success of what we create.”
“Our new contract secures gains on wages, global streaming residuals, safety, diversity and creative rights that build for the future and impact every category of member in our Guild,” Glatter said. “The strength of our new contract is a testament to our Negotiations Committee Chair Jon Avnet, Negotiations Co-chairs Karen Gaviola and Todd Holland, National Executive Director Russell Hollander and our outstanding professional staff.”
In the days leading up to the DGA’s vote to ratify, a number of high-profile members like Lilly Wachowski urged their peers to consider voting “no” over concerns about whether the contract’s focus on “generative AI” specifically was a sign of the AMPTP attempting to create loopholes it intends to exploit down the line as AI tools become more sophisticated and capable of putting them out of jobs. The DGA and AMPTP’s new deal — which was tentatively approved in early June and will last for three years — goes into effect on July 1st, the day after the Screen Actors Guild’s own contract with the AMPTP is set to expire and potentially lead to yet another strike beginning.
While the WGA congratulated the DGA in early June when the now-signed deal was still just tentative, the organization also made it very clear in a public statement that it saw (and continues to see) the AMPTP as trying to replay the beats of the 2007 / 2008 strike with a “divide and conquer” strategy meant to pit the WGA, DGA, and SAG-AFTRA against one another.
“[The AMPTP] pretended they couldn’t negotiate with the WGA in May because of negotiations with the DGA,” the WGA said. “That’s a lie. It’s a choice they made in hope of breathing life into the divide and conquer strategy. The essence of the strategy is to make deals with some unions and tell the rest that’s all there is. It’s gaslighting, and it only works if unions are divided. Our position is clear: to resolve the strike, the companies will have to negotiate with the WGA on our full agenda.”
Disclosure: The Verge’s editorial staff is also unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East.