Voting is now underway for the ratification of the new DGA film and TV contract. Members were sent ballots tonight along with the memorandum of agreement, as well as an executive summary of the new deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The tentative agreement was approved last night by the DGA national board, which unanimously recommended that members ratify it. Voting must be completed by June 23.
“In this new agreement,” DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter told members, “we were able to win many significant advancements, including a number of important industry ‘firsts’ including: essential protections regarding AI, terms and conditions in non-dramatic SVOD programs as well as high-budget AVOD programs, Feature Director compensation for ‘soft prep,’ expanded paid post-production for Episodic Directors, a new foreign streaming residuals structure based on subscribers, and banning live ammunition on sets. We also obtained critical improvements in wages, streaming residuals, safety, diversity, and additional creative rights gains. What is particularly striking about the agreement is the breadth and depth of the achievements made, providing significant new benefits for members in every category.”
Key highlights of the agreement, she wrote, include:
- Wages and Benefits: Won the highest general wage gains in more than 35 years including a 5% increase in the first year of the contract, 4% in the second year and 3.5% in the third year. In year two of the agreement, an additional 0.5% wage increase will fund a first-time new parental leave benefit for DGA members.
- Global Streaming Residuals: Achieved significant increases in the residuals for dramatic programs made for SVOD by securing a new residual structure to pay foreign residuals based on number of foreign subscribers. The result is a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms so that residuals for a one-hour episode will now be roughly $90,000 for the first three exhibition years.
- Generative Artificial Intelligence: Secured agreement that the customary and contractual duties assigned to DGA-represented employees must continue to be assigned to DGA-represented employees covered by the agreement, and that GAI does not constitute a person.
- Non-Dramatic Programs: For the first time, we established terms and conditions for directors and their teams on non-dramatic (e.g., Variety and Reality) programs made for SVOD. We have improved residuals for Directors, which will now be shared with Associate Directors and Stage Managers.
- High Budget Dramatic AVOD Terms and Conditions: We achieved new terms, creative rights protections, working conditions and improved residuals – which include UPMs and Assistant Directors, for our members working in scripted dramatic projects made for free to the consumer streaming services such as Freevee, Tubi, and Roku.
- Feature Directors: For the first time, we gained compensation for the months of “soft prep” Feature Directors currently perform for free prior to the start of the Director’s official prep period.
- Episodic Directors: For Pay TV and SVOD, Episodic Directors won expanded paid post-production creative rights, and gained an additional guaranteed shoot day for one-hour programs. Together, these improvements will result in a 28% increase in the guaranteed minimum compensation for most Directors working on one-hour series made for Pay TV or High Budget SVOD from $50,764 to $64,960 over the term of the Agreement.
- Reduction in Hours: We achieved a critically important reduction in the length of the Assistant Director’s day by one hour.
- Safety: We obtained concrete safety advancements including a pilot program to require the employment of dedicated safety supervisors and risk assessment; expanded safety training programs for both directors and their teams, and the ban of live ammunition on set.
Here’s a chart and an executive summary sent to members that contains all the key deal points.
“In addition to these breakthroughs,” she wrote, “we have increased Studio transparency in residuals reporting that will result in greater enforcement and larger residual payments, made improvements in diversity and inclusion, added Juneteenth as a paid holiday and many additional gains for members in all categories.
“These accomplishments are thanks to a year and a half of research and preparation, and weeks of incredibly complex negotiations by an extraordinary team: Negotiations Chair Jon Avnet and Co-chairs Karen Gaviola and Todd Holland, our National Executive Director Russell Hollander, and our Negotiations Committee, made up of more than 80 members representing all categories. In addition, I want to recognize the heroic efforts of Creative Rights Chairs Thomas Schlamme and Nicole Kassell for their work in furthering the creative rights for our television directors. I am so proud of all of the phenomenal efforts of our members who participated in negotiations, alongside our excellent professional DGA staff, and I thank everyone involved for their dedication to achieving an excellent new contract for all DGA members.
“I am proud to present this agreement to you for your approval. In addition, we are scheduling a series of meetings for members to find out more about the new agreement and ask questions and will be sending that information shortly.
“This ballot represents your highest responsibility as a Guild member and the core of why the Guild has existed and remained strong for almost 90 years – to protect your economic and creative rights and freedoms. The Negotiations Committee and the Guild’s National Board unanimously – and enthusiastically – recommend that you vote YES for ratification of the Agreements.”