Yesterday my colleague Pete Hammond said there were “no surprises” in the DGA Awards Film nominees. Well, today the Directors Guild of America delivered even less of a shock as its members ratified the new three-year deal its negotiating committee reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers in late November (after you finish that yawn, read their release below). Same as three years ago, no specific numbers were given just that the approval was by an “overwhelming margin,” according to the DGA. (UPDATE, 11 AM: As you would expect, AMPTP praised the ratification today, though with slightly ominous tones.“We are pleased that the DGA membership has ratified the new contracts. These new agreements will contribute to the stability of the industry by ensuring that feature film and television production – and the jobs dependent on it – can continue without interruption,” said the producers’ group in a statement Wednesday.)
The Guild sent out the new agreements to its 15,000 members on December 18, 2012. With its current deal ending on June 30, the DGA was the first of the guilds this time round to conclude a new Basic Agreement and the Freelance Live and Tape TV Agreement with the studios and networks. While the WGA took the step to announce its negotiating committee on November 13, neither they nor SAG-AFTRA have set a start date for their respective talks with AMPTP. Now that the DGA approval is done, the WGA are expected to get things going soon while the now merged actors’ unions aren’t likely to kick things off until March or even April. While some details might vary, sources tell me that the two unions plan on smooth negotiations and agreements patterned closely on the DGA’s deal. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA’s respective contracts expire on May 1 and June 30, individually. Check out the DGA release on their ratification here:
Los Angeles – Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay today announced that the DGA membership has voted by an overwhelming margin to ratify the new collective bargaining agreements between the DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
“With this vote, the DGA membership has decisively demonstrated its support for the new contract,” said Barclay. “This negotiation was about laying the groundwork to protect our future in a meaningful way, and the result is a strong and forward-looking agreement with substantial gains for our members. I am very proud of what our Negotiations Committee and the professional staff of the DGA have accomplished.”
Negotiations with the AMPTP began on Monday, November 4 and concluded after three weeks of negotiations on Friday, November 22. Talks were led by Negotiations Co-Chairs Michael Apted and Thomas Schlamme and DGA National Executive Director Jay D. Roth. On November 23, the DGA’s National Board of Directors unanimously recommended sending the contract to members for ratification. A summary of the new contract was mailed to members, along with a voting ballot, and the results were tallied last night.
Gains include an annual 3% wage increase; increased residuals bases; significant improvements in basic cable; the establishment, for the first time, of minimum terms and conditions for high-budget new media made for subscription video on demand (SVOD); the establishment of a formal diversity program at every major television studio; and important improvements in theatrical and television creative rights; among many other advances.
The new contract’s three-year term will take effect on July 1, 2014 and will run through June 30, 2017.
So, let’s see, the WGA is Next. Write?
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog
*Photo supplied by Watchdog