DGA to negotiate with AMPTP in November

Directors Guild to wait out SAG, AFTRA talks

The Directors Guild of America’s decided to let the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA go first at the negotiating table.

The DGA announced Wednesday in a statement from DGA president Taylor Hackford and negotiating committee chair Gil Cates that it will wait to start its talks until mid-November — until after the performers unions have completed their seven weeks of scheduled contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

The SAG-AFTRA primetime-feature talks are scheduled to run from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15. The SAG, AFTRA and DGA deals all expire on June 30, 2011.

The DGA’s traditionally gone first to the negotiations with the AMPTP but SAG negotiated the seven-week bargaining period into its current contract. Hackford and Cates said that they had reached an understanding with the AMPTP to begin formal negotiations in mid-November.

They also said they’ll meet informally with the congloms prior to then.

“As is our custom, we will engage with the AMPTP to clarify and narrow the issues before the beginning of formal negotiations,” Hackford and Cates said. “We will use these discussions to confirm that both parties are committed to negotiating a fair agreement that will protect the economic and creative rights of DGA members while accomplishing the important objective of keeping our industry working in this challenging period.”

The DGA leaders noted that already began serious preparations for the negotiations well in advance of its contract expiration with Cates tapped as negotiations chair in January. It’s the fourth consecutive time that Cates has headed the DGA’s bargaining committee, which will be appointed in June.

“Our consultants and research department have begun updating our business and revenue forecasts and assimilating the data collected in the last few years,” the duo said Wednesday. “Our councils, committees and staff have also begun their work to identify issues and prepare proposals. Our full Negotiating Committee will be appointed in June and will begin meeting this summer to prepare the DGA proposals.”

Hackford and Cates also said they “wholeheartedly” support SAG’s and AFTRA’s decision to move forward with joint negotiations.

SAG announced earlier this month that president Ken Howard would head the guild’s negotiating committee.

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