Members of the Directors Guild of America voted to ratify their new contract, bringing the industry one step closer to social peace.
The DGA announced Friday that 87% of members had voted in favor of the agreement, with 41% participation. The guild said turnout was the highest ever for a ratification vote, with 6,728 members voting out of 16,321 eligible.
The contract includes a 76% increase in foreign streaming residuals, which was the guild’s top priority before the talks. It also includes a “second cut” for television producers and a pilot program for set safety. It also moves overtime penalties an hour earlier for assistant directors.
The DGA has held several member meetings, both in person and on Zoom, since announcing the tentative agreement on June 3. Management explained the terms of the agreement, which also include provisions on artificial intelligence, family leave and increased minimums. 5% the first year, followed by 4% and 3.5%.
The DGA deal will likely be the easiest hurdle for the Alliance of Film and Television Producers. The DGA has only struck once in its history, a few minutes in 1987.
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AMPTP is still in talks with SAG-AFTRA which represents 160,000 performers. This contract expires on June 30 and the management could call a strike if no agreement is reached by then.
The AMPTP must then reach an agreement with the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike for 53 days. The group of studios generally seek to apply the terms of one guild to the other two in a “model negotiation” system, but SAG-AFTRA and the WGA have said they will not be bound by the terms of the DGA contract. .
In interviews, DGA members generally expressed support for the deal, although some had reservations about the AI language.
The AI provision – the first in any guild contract – states that generative AI does not constitute a “person” and states that it will not replace tasks traditionally performed by guild members. But it does not ban AI and only mandates “consultation” on how AI will be used in the creative process. It also does not include provisions governing how AI programs can be trained – which are key priorities for the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
Many writer-directors, members of both the WGA and DGA, had publicly announced that they would vote no in solidarity with the WGA strike.
Some writers also publicly criticized the DGA for making the deal, saying it would have been better to delay ratification until the writers had a contract.
In a statement, DGA chairwoman Lesli Linka Glatter said the guild ‘did not negotiate in a vacuum’ – a subtle acknowledgment to those who said the writers’ strike had strengthened directors’ influence .
“We stand united with the writers, cast and all crew members in our common fight to move our industry forward,” Glatter said. “We support the actors who are in negotiations and the writers who remain on strike, and we will stand with the AI and the Teamsters when they negotiate their agreement next year. We won’t be satisfied until we all have fair contracts that reward us for our creative work – we need to create a vibrant and sustainable industry that values us all fairly.
If the members of the DGA had rejected the agreement, the negotiators would have been forced to return to the negotiating table.
The DGA’s custom is to announce that members voted in favor of ratification by an “overwhelming” majority, but not to provide the count.
The last time the guild released actual results was in 1996, when the contract was approved by a vote of 2,949 to 112, or 96.3% in favor.