Key unions issue solidarity pledge as directors’ talks draw to a close

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Unions for writers, actors and teamsters issue a joint statement declaring support for the guild of directors as an end to negotiations draws near. 

There’s just a few days left before the ongoing strike action in America could be seriously escalated as negotiations between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) draw to a close.

Whilst the talks have been taking place behind closed doors and could conceivably go either way, Hollywood is certainly bracing itself for further strikes, especially given that a DGA strike action would have a far more immediate impact than the ongoing writers’ strike.

The ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, now in its fifth week, has affected some movie projects early in production, others have carried on regardless. For example, whilst Marvel’s Blade has suspended production, Deadpool 3 has begun shooting (although we’re not quite sure how you’d film a comedic movie like Deadpool without writing and trying different jokes). Alarm is even growing here in the UK industry regarding the shutdown of US productions being filmed on British soil. What is certain though, is that a directors’ strike would almost certainly shut down all productions straight away.

The other Hollywood unions have chorused their support for the DGA, with the WGA, the actors’ union (SAG-AFRA) and the teamsters’ union issuing a joint statement. It reads:

“We believe in a Hollywood where every worker is valued and their contributions recognised, whether their labor is on or off screen,” read the statement. “A fair contract for directors does not benefit just a select few; it uplifts every worker in the film and television industry and acknowledges the interconnected nature of our work. We call on the AMPTP to immediately negotiate a fair agreement that addresses the Directors Guild of America’s unique priorities in good faith.

“As eyes around the world again turn towards the negotiation table, we send a clear message to the AMPTP: Our solidarity is not to be underestimated. The Hollywood guilds and unions stand united, and we stand strong.”

The support of the Teamsters has been invaluable so far in increasing the impact of the strike in Hollywood. According to stories emerging from the Hollywood press, the men and women who drive the trucks and service the sizeable logistical needs of film productions have been refusing to cross picket lines, effectively meaning that if a film or TV set is being picketed, it won’t get the equipment and other supplies it might need to operate.

Whether the above pledge of solidarity has any sway over the negotiations remains to be seen, but in the past the DGA has often been the union to strike a deal with the AMPTP whilst others have resisted. This of course breaks the collective bargaining power that the combined unions possess and weakens their overall position. There’s a growing feeling that this time, things might be different though, underscored by the ongoing suggestion that Hollywood studios are using the strike as a means of cutting operating costs and terminating deals with talent that they no longer want.

True or not, we’ll know for sure in less than a week if negotiations between the DGA and the AMPTP have come to an agreement. If not though, the fallout will be pretty seismic. We’ll bring you more on this story as we hear it.

Screen Daily


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