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Directors Guild President Paris Barclay Hopes Writers Strike Can Be Averted

Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay has declared that the DGA is hoping that a writers strike can be averted.

In a five-paragraph missive to DGA members, he used measured language and did not provide an endorsement of the WGA and its negotiating positions. The letter was sent to the 17,000 DGA members late Thursday afternoon. Barclay provided a general update on the talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The current contract expires at 12:01 am PT on Tuesday. The letter was sent out on the same day that the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and the NFL Players Assn. issued strong endorsements of the WGA and its negotiating positions.

Barclay did not address the specifics of the WGA’s proposal as he took an apparently neutral stance. “It is our sincere hope that the WGA and the AMPTP reach a fair deal and a strike will be averted,” he said.

The DGA reached a three-year deal with the AMPTP in December and members ratified the contract in January. The pact, which goes into effect on July 1, includes a major gain in streaming residuals payments.

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It’s estimated that there are about 1,000 directors and writers who belong to both guilds.

Read Barclay’s full letter below.

You are undoubtedly aware that the WGA’s agreement with the AMPTP expires on May 1st. Earlier this week the WGA announced that it obtained strike authorization from its membership to initiate a work stoppage as early as May 2nd.

We recognize that the possibility of a strike causes uncertainty, and that you may have some questions and we write to assure you that we will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with regular updates. Here’s where things stand now: the WGA and AMPTP companies resumed negotiations on Tuesday, and will be meeting through the week in an attempt to reach terms for a new agreement. We remain hopeful that they will successfully negotiate their contract without a work stoppage.

If there is no agreement by May 1, 2017, the WGA has the right to call a strike. They have stated that they will strike on May 2, 2017 if a deal is not agreed upon, but depending on the status of negotiations they may choose not to do so. If a strike is not immediately called, writers may continue to work under the terms of the expired collective bargaining agreement. That situation would continue until there is a strike or a new agreement.

It is our sincere hope that the WGA and the AMPTP reach a fair deal and a strike will be averted.

We will continue to provide additional information about the status of negotiations and your legal rights and obligations under our contracts by email and through members only communications on the DGA website (www.dga.org) as the situation develops.

Sincerely,

Paris Barclay

DGA President

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