Directors Guild take hard stance
While the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are beating themselves about the heads on the payment deals for (not so) new media, the Directors Guild of America has been somewhat quiet, and that's rather unusual since they are usually well into negotiations by now.
However a letter has just been released from the President of the Guild, as well as the Chair of the Negotiations Committee and the National Executive Director, which reveals...well, I'm not sure exactly what it reveals, but it might mean they are negotiating and negotiating hard.
The full letter is over at Deadline Hollywood Daily, but here are some relevant excerpts.
"DGA has spent close to 18 months developing research, meeting with outside experts, and talking to our members about these issues. They have been discussed by the Board and the Negotiations Committee for well over a year...
...For more than 70 years we have managed, often without fanfare, to negotiate good deals for all of us and we are proud of the strength of our Basic Agreement...
...There is a reason that few in the industry ever accuse the DGA or its members of being pushovers. We've never been that and we don't plan to start now.
This issue is not between the DGA and the WGA. To make that the fight only strengthens the other side. But sharing a goal is not the same as sharing tactics and strategy. And our differing views of the best way to achieve our goals may lead us to act differently. Traditionally our negotiations start early and usually are done by January. This has been our pattern for the past 20 years...
...Out of respect for them, we have done what you asked for in your letter -- we have refrained from commencing our own negotiations. And, at the same time we have refrained from commenting publicly on our thoughts about the direction of their proposals and the progress of their negotiations.
But the reality is that WGA and the AMPTP have been meeting since July -- and, despite a strike that has put tens of thousands of people out of work, they seem nowhere near reaching a deal...
...What we know is that we cannot abdicate our responsibility to our members by putting their fate in the hands of another union whose tactics and strategy we have not been able to influence. Our members expect the Guild to fight for them when things get tough."
The letter closes with some more amble and hard stance taking, but really there's nothing clearly stated. It gives the feeling that they are ready to start fighting and take a stance, but it also seems that this is more posturing and quiet threats than anything.
"AMPTP, we will start something if you guys don't agree" is what I'm hearing, and there's more than a hand slap in there for the way that the DGA think the WGA has handled things.
Still, I don't believe that this says that they think things are going to be sorted easily, and it doesn't really say that they think there's going to be action. In fact it doesn't really say that they are entering into negotiations.
This does seem like a positioning letter more than anything, a shout from the shore to the battling troops - we're here and we're thinking about joining in. If they do and the Screen Actors Guild also get involved, we might be seeing a big shake up in Hollywood.