Hollywood directors ratify labor pact as writers keep picketing


LOS ANGELES: Film and television directors voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year labor contract with major Hollywood studios on Friday, averting a second work stoppage that would have added to upheaval caused by an ongoing writers’ strike.

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) said 87% of those voting supported the deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a group that represents Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and other major studios.

The DGA represents 19,000 directors, assistant directors and others who work on film and TV productions.

The 41% turnout level, with 6,728 members out of 16,321 eligible voters casting ballots, exceeded any prior DGA ratification vote, the union said on its website.

In the new labor pact, members secured base wage increases starting at 5% the first year, an increase in residual payments from streaming, and a guarantee that generative artificial intelligence (AI) “cannot replace the duties performed by members.”

AI also has emerged as a major concern of writers and actors, who see their jobs as especially vulnerable to the new technology.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since May 2, shutting down several TV and film projects such as a new season of “Stranger Things” and a “Game of Thrones” spinoff.

There are no new contract talks scheduled between the WGA and studios, whose dispute has largely centered on changes to show business brought about by the streaming boom.

During the last WGA strike in 2007 and 2008, a studio deal with the DGA prompted writers to head back to the bargaining table. Striking writers have insisted that the directors’ latest deal will not influence their position this time.

Hollywood actors, meanwhile, are in the middle of their own labor talks with studios. Members of the SAG-AFTRA actors union have given their negotiators the power to call a strike if they cannot agree on a new contract by June 30. —Reuters

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