Unionized movie and television directors approved a new three-year contract with Hollywood studios on Friday, with 87 percent voting in support.
The Directors Guild of America, which has 16,321 eligible voters, announced the results, saying that there was record turnout and that the contract included “gains on wages, global streaming residuals, safety, diversity and creative rights.”
The ratification formally prevents the doomsday scenario of three major Hollywood unions striking simultaneously. More than 11,000 screenwriters have been walking picket lines for eight weeks, bringing many productions to a halt. No talks are scheduled between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of studios. The writers and studios left the bargaining table on May 1 very far apart on the major issues.
The contract between studios and SAG-AFTRA, the guild that represents about 160,000 actors, expires next Friday. The alliance and the actors’ union began negotiating a new contract on June 7. It is unclear how those talks are going; the two sides agreed to a media blackout. The actors voted to authorize a strike before negotiations started. (About 65,000 members cast ballots, or 48 percent of eligible voters, with 98 percent supporting a strike.)
“The D.G.A. didn’t bargain in a vacuum,” Lesli Linka Glatter, the guild’s president, said in a statement. “We stand united with writers, actors and all crew members in our shared fight to move our industry forward.”
Some of the directors’ priorities echoed those of actors and writers, including wages, streaming residuals and concerns about artificial intelligence. Writers Guild leaders had said that the studios offered little more than “annual meetings to discuss” artificial intelligence, and that they refused to bargain over guardrails. The Directors Guild said it had received a “groundbreaking agreement confirming that A.I. is not a person and that generative A.I. cannot replace the duties performed by members.”
Some of the writers’ demands, however, are more complex than those of the directors. Writers Guild leaders have described their dispute in urgent terms, calling this moment “existential” and saying the studios “are seemingly intent on continuing their efforts to destroy the profession of writing.”
Writers Guild leaders called the deal that studios struck with directors part of a “playbook” to “divide and conquer,” and they vowed to fight on. On Wednesday, a “W.G.A. Strong” rally in central Los Angeles attracted an estimated 5,000 people, including members of SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild and other entertainment unions.