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Directors Guild Reaches Deal on TV Networks Staff Contract

The Directors Guild of America has reached a tentative agreement with ABC, CBS and NBC on a successor deal to the master contract covering staff and freelancers at the networks and their local stations.

The DGA national board of directors voted unanimously on Oct. 22 to send the three-year Network Staff Agreement to members for ratification. The pact covers work by staff and freelance members employed in news, sports and operations.

If ratified, the new contract will cover the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020.

The contract covers less than 1,000 members and is separate from the DGA’s Basic Agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Televisions Producers. The DGA and the AMPTP announced on Oct. 18 that both sides plan to launch negotiations on that contract in early December.

The DGA currently has about 16,500 members. Its three-year master contract also expires on June 30, 2017.

The network staff agreement incorporates wage and pension increases. New provisions include:

— Increased wages and fees by 2% in the first year of the contract, and 2.5% in both the second and third years for a compounded wage increase of 7.2% over the term of the agreement;

— Increased employer contribution to the DGA-Producer Pension Plan by 0.5%, to a total of 6%. In the second and third years of the Agreement, the DGA will also have the right to divert 0.5% of the negotiated wage increase to either the DGA pension or health plan;

— Provisions to address opportunities for DGA members to work on new media projects and assignments;
provisions to address various concerns of local station directors related to jurisdiction, long hours and compensation.

The negotiations began in September in New York and concluded in early October. The DGA negotiating committee was headed by John LiBretto and Associate National Executive Director Russell Hollander.

“In an environment in which local stations, sports and news operations face ever-increasing pressures, it is a testament to both the skill of the Negotiations Committee and to the high value that our members continue to bring to news, sports and operations that the Committee was able to negotiate this agreement,” said DGA President Paris Barclay. “John and the entire Negotiations Committee should be proud of what they have accomplished.”

Hollander said, “The Negotiations Committee also successfully fended off a number of proposals that would have lessened the strength and quality of this agreement, while defending previous gains. They achieved a strong and impactful agreement with real improvements that will stand our members in good stead for years to come.”

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