Directors guild enters contract negotiations amid writers strike

Thursday, May 11, 2023
Amid writers strike, directors guild starts its own contract talks
Could there be more Hollywood strikes this year? Negotiations with the directors have just started and actors are next.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Could there be a second - or even third - Hollywood strike later this year?

With the Writers Guild of America in its second week of walking the picket lines, the union for directors is now starting its own negotiations with the studios.

And after that - it's the actors' turn.

The Directors Guild of America started its contract negotiations Wednesday with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The directors and writers are expressing solidarity for each other, as well as drawing on support from actors and even non-Hollywood labor unions. The United Farm Workers, for example, showed up recently at the picket lines.

"We are all union workers," said Todd Holland, co-chair of the DGA's negotiating team, speaking via taped video statement. "They write the stories that we direct, that actors perform, and with the help of our craftspeople and drivers, together we bring these stories to life."

A DGA statement posted online outlines the group's priorities in this contract cycle. Some issues, like pay and residuals, overlap with what the WGA wants. Other things are more director-specific, like prioritizing safety training and standards on set.

The safety issue is under discussion in light of high-profile problems that have happened on set. None have been more high profile than the fatal shooting on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie "Rust" in 2021.

"All that is very top of mind. And the directors, I think, are very sincere when they say they want that guild to lead the industry in safety," said Cynthia Littleton, co-editor-in-chief at Variety.

Aaron Ginsburg, a WGA member and an executive producer, says they'll be watching the directors' negotiations closely from their own picket lines.

"We are hoping that they will stand with us, as they've already said they would," said Ginsburg. "And also I want them to get a good deal as well. We all deserve a good deal."

Next up: After DGA negotiations, the AMPTP is scheduled to discuss a new contract with SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors, starting June 7.