© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People stand above the Hollywood sign under a cloudy sky in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 31, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
By Lisa Richwine and Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Film and TV directors voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year labor contract with major Hollywood studios on Friday, averting a second work stoppage that would have deepened the upheaval caused by a ongoing writers’ strike.
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) said 87% of voters supported the deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a group that represents Walt disney (NYSE:) Co, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:) and other major studios.
The DGA represents 19,000 directors, assistant directors and others who work on film and television productions.
The 41% turnout, with 6,728 members out of 16,321 eligible voters casting their ballots, topped any previous DGA ratification vote, the union said on its website.
In the new labor pact, members won base salary increases starting at 5% in the first year, increased streaming residual payments, and a guarantee that generative artificial intelligence (AI) “cannot replace duties performed by members.
Artificial intelligence has also become a major concern for writers and actors, who see their work as particularly vulnerable to new technologies.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since May 2, halting several TV and film projects such as a new season of “Stranger Things” and a spin-off of “Game of Thrones.”
There are no new contract negotiations planned between the WGA and the studios, whose dispute largely centers on the changes brought to show business by the streaming boom.
During the last WGA strike in 2007 and 2008, a studio deal with the DGA spurred writers back to the bargaining table. Striking writers have insisted the directors’ latest deal will not influence their position this time around.
Hollywood actors, meanwhile, are in the midst of their own labor negotiations with studios. Members of the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA have given their negotiators the power to call a strike if they fail to agree on a new contract by June 30.
(This story has been reclassified to correct a typographical error in paragraph 4)