Directors Guild to begin contract talks with studios on May 10 in pursuit of higher pay, benefits

The Directors Guild of America headquarters.
(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The Directors Guild of America will start negotiations with Hollywood studios on May 10, the union said Monday. The labor group’s contract is set to expire June 30.

The move formalizes another piece in the order of negotiations for the film and television business’ top collective bargaining units.

The historically more militant Writers Guild of America is set to be the first to start this year’s cycle of bargaining, having already set March 20 for its first face off with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. SAG-AFTRA, which represents performers, has yet to announce a date for its talks to begin. The actors’ union’s contract also expires June 30.

The DGA said in January that it was in no rush to begin talks with the studios, suggesting a wide chasm between the two sides over bargaining terms. Typically the union has started negotiations early, months before its contract expires, when it has felt the studios were ready to address its biggest concerns.

Directors are warning this will be a tough year for labor talks as studios cut staff and productions.

Jan. 14, 2023

The decision to start talks comes despite the fact that there have been no substantive conversations in recent weeks between the two sides, said a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.

“We will maintain a laser focus on achieving a fair contract that will allow you to participate in the global growth of this industry and the distribution of your work around the world,” the DGA’s negotiations chair Jon Avnet, National Executive Director Russell Hollander, and co-chairs Karen Gaviola and Todd Holland said in a statement.

The DGA’s top goals include higher wages, which have been eroded by inflation; securing more funding for its health and pension plans and increases in streaming residuals — the fees directors and others fetch after the initial airings of shows.


The union also told members Monday it wanted to address the impact of vertical integration and so-called self-dealing (where studios produce and distribute content), as well as studios’ increasingly international focus.