News, sports helmers ink with TV nets

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The DGA has made quick work of another set of contract negotiations.

The guild said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with TV network reps on a new three-year contract for about 800 news directors, sports helmers and operational staff. The pact, reached after just four bargaining sessions, was inked in the early hours of Saturday morning and provides unspecified "annual wage increases and other negotiated benefits," officials said.

A DGA spokeswoman declined to say why news of the contract was held for three days, with the deal finally revealed a day after the results of a strike-authorization vote by WGA East newswriters at CBS were announced. Some 81% of the guild newswriters authorized a possible strike against the Eye, WGAE officials said Monday.

"I am proud to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with the networks on behalf of our members who work in news, sports and operations," DGA president Michael Apted said.

Network staff negotiations committee chair William Brady said the new contract — hammered out in sessions that began Nov. 13 — features "notable" pay boosts.

"It was the guild's leadership position in the industry, combined with the committee's careful and acute attention to change in the field and the networks' recognition of the quality of the DGA members, that allowed us to work together to build a strong yet flexible and mature contract," Brady said.

By contrast, WGAE newswriters have been unable to secure a new CBS pact after more than two years of trying. With a strike now authorized, a work stoppage by writers could begin whenever such a move were to be approved by the guild's negotiating committee and WGAE brass.

The DGA's new pact will be submitted for approval by the guild board and then for membership ratification. It would take effect July 1 and run through June 30, 2011.

Terms of the pact include "a framework for ongoing dialogue during the term of the agreement," officials said.

"This references administrative issues regarding changes in pension and health during the terms of the contract," a DGA spokeswoman said.
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