Amid Writers' Fight, Directors Guild to Examine Agreement With Agencies

DGA ATA  - H - 2019

The union says it is not instructing members "at the present time" to terminate their agents for DGA-covered work.

The Directors Guild of America on Monday weighed in on the battle between the Writers Guild of America and the Association of Talent Agents, potentially opening a dramatic new front in the fight involving representation in Hollywood.

“There are important issues that we are examining in the context of the DGA agency agreement,” said the DGA in a statement. “As our Franchise Agreement is currently in effect, we are not instructing hyphenate members to terminate their agents with respect to DGA-covered services at the present time.”

It was unclear if the wording was intended to signal the possibility that the DGA position would change at some point. The guild declined to comment beyond its statement, which is the first time it has addressed the WGA-ATA dispute.

A WGA FAQ acknowledges that the guild cannot order members to fire their agents with respect to non-WGA work, but says, “The Guild cannot direct you to leave your agency for work that isn’t covered by the Writers Guild, although we encourage you to be represented for all your work by a franchised agency that is not conflicted.”

The DGA agency agreement dates to 1977, just a year after the recently terminated version of the WGA’s agreement, but was updated in 2004 — two years after the Screen Actors Guild franchise agreement expired after a contested membership vote. (The AFTRA franchise agreement is still in effect, creating a confusing situation after the two performers unions merged in 2012.)

As previously reported, SAG-AFTRA issued a statement of support for the WGA on March 31. “We congratulate the Writers Guild of America on their successful membership vote and applaud the Guild for taking steps in the best interests of their members,” said the statement. “We stand with our sister union in the ongoing struggle to protect members in the entertainment industry.”

For more on this subject, visit THR's labor page.