If members of the Writers Guild East and West decide to strike when the contract with AMPTP expires on May 1, it’s expected that other guilds, including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) will honor the walk-out.
Last week, the DGA issued a warning to members to honor their agreement. In other words in the event of a WGA strike, members were instructed to cross the potential picket lines.
The Guild, which represents more than 19,000 directors, unit production managers and assistant directors warned that members who stand with the WGA could face employer repercussions from struck companies.
The DGA has a “no-strike” clause in its contract with the networks and studios and states that the union “will not call or engage in or assist any strike, slow-down or stoppage of work affecting motion picture production” over the course of its current pact, which expires June 30.
Now, The DGA on Monday released a statement of support regarding the Writers Guild of America’s negotiations with the AMPTP.
“As the WGA enters the last week of negotiations before its contract expires on May 1, we support them in their efforts to achieve a fair and reasonable agreement for their members. During this time of significant change for our industry, all the creative talent, artisans, craftspeople, and workers who make the films and television shows that drive our industry deserve to earn a stable living and share in the success we build together. We all have a stake in issues like wages, streaming residuals, funding for our health and pension plans, health and safety and more. We urge the AMPTP to seriously consider the writers’ concerns and reach a fair and reasonable agreement.”
The WGA is seeking higher compensation for writers. This includes:
- higher wage floors across the board
- standardizing fees for streaming and theatrical films
- expanding span protection (which shields writers being compensated per episode from working for long periods on short-order series)
- regulating mini rooms
- instituting a mandatory two “steps” (points of payment) for feature writers.
The guild is additionally pushing for minimum television writing staff sizes and a minimum number of weeks of employment, THR reported in February.
Artificial intelligence has also been a dominant part of the ongoing conversation. With the rise of ChatGPT and other chatbots that produce written material, the guild is advocating to prohibit AI-produced or AI-rewritten content from being covered under the contract.
Banning companies from assigning writers adaptations of writing originally generated by the technology is also a priority.
The contract expires on May 1.