WGA, SAG-AFTRA Say DGA Deal Won’t Change Their Contract Goals

The Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA congratulated the Directors Guild of America on reaching an agreement with the studios on Sunday, but both groups stressed that the deal does not change their own goals.

Both guilds are intent on pushing back against “pattern bargaining,” in which the terms of the DGA deal are typically applied to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.

The WGA has been on strike for a month, while SAG-AFTRA begins its negotiations on Wednesday.

“Our bargaining strategy has never relied upon nor been dependent on the outcome or status of any other union’s negotiations, nor do we subscribe to the philosophy that the terms of deals made with other unions bind us,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the executive director of SAG-AFTRA, in a statement.

The WGA has been making the same point for several days in anticipation of a DGA deal.

“The AMPTP will not be able to negotiate a deal for writers with anyone but us,” the WGA said Sunday, in a message titled “Onward.” The memo stated that the WGA’s positions remain the same as they were on May 1, when talks broke off.

Assuming the DGA deal is ratified, it removes the threat of a tri-guild strike. The DGA has only struck once in its 87-year history — and then only for a few minutes — so an agreement has been widely anticipated.

All three unions have made a strong point of emphasizing their solidarity in this round of negotiations, which they see as a marked departure from the 2007-08 writers’ strike.

Both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA said they would not comment on the DGA’s deal points, as only a high-level summary has been released so far. The DGA has stated that it obtained a 76% increase in foreign residuals on the largest streaming platforms, as well as language restricting artificial intelligence. The guild also received increases in minimums of 5%, 4% and 3.5% over the three-year contract.

The WGA and SAG-AFTRA also want to link streaming residuals to viewership of a show. The WGA is also looking for a mandatory minimum staffing level for TV writers rooms, as well as a minimum number of weeks of employment, among other goals.

SAG-AFTRA has set a strike authorization vote, with ballots due 5 p.m. on Monday.

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