DGA Members Ratify New Studio Contract

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Ratification was expected.

The membership of the Directors Guild of America has ratified the new three-year collective bargaining agreements between the DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the union's president, Paris Barclay, announced Wednesday.

A union statement said that ratification was by "an overwhelming margin" but did not release the actual figures. Such ratifications are usually overwhelming, with yes votes commonly in the 90 percent range or above.

"I am happy to report that the DGA membership overwhelmingly voted to ratify the new contract," said Barclay. "Our major gains in SVOD residuals, together with our improvements in wages and pensions, were the result of our forward-thinking preparation. With the groundwork already laid in previous negotiations, this new contract embodies what we knew was possible when we established our first New Media agreement nearly a decade ago."

Barclay thanked the Negotiating Committee, led by co-chairs Michael Apted and Thomas Schlamme, and outgoing national executive director Jay Roth, as well as the guild's staff "for all their determination and hard work."

Formal negotiations with the AMPTP began on Monday, Dec. 5, and concluded three weeks later, on Friday, Dec. 23. On Dec. 29, the DGA's National Board of Directors unanimously recommended sending the contract to members for ratification. Ratification voting opened on Jan. 4.

Gains include what the guild called "significant increases" in SVOD residuals; increases in employer contributions to the pension plan; annual wage increases (2.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second and third); increases in nearly all residuals bases; and a provision addressing the lack of TV directing opportunities for aspiring career directors. The new agreement also includes provisions addressing safety, improvements in creative rights — including expanded rights of members when their work is shown theatrically as well as provisions addressing late scripts — and specific advances that pertain to members of the director's team.

The new contract will take effect on July 1, 2017 and will run through June 30, 2020.