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DGA Ready for Talks in 2008

The Hollywood labor wars heated up last week with the Directors Guild of America saying that it is ready to open talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in early 2008. The Writers Guild of America, meanwhile, filed charges against the AMPTP with the National Labor Relations Board for not bargaining in good faith.

The DGA said Thursday that it wants to open talks with the AMPTP about a new deal, but it will not begin negotiations until the new year.

DGA president Michael Apted and negotiations-committee chair Gil Cates said they will hold off on opening talks because they want “to give the WGA and the AMPTP more time to return to the negotiating table to conclude an agreement.”

Their statement said talks will open “only if an appropriate basis for negotiations can be established.” It has been long expected that the AMPTP would try to get a pre-emptive deal done with the DGA in hopes of putting pressure on the WGA to then cut a subsequent deal.

The WGA said that the DGA “has to do what is best for its membership, and we will do what is best for ours. We wish them well, but they do not represent writers. Our strike will end when the companies return to negotiations and make a fair deal with the WGA.”

The AMPTP said Thursday that while it looks forward to opening talks with the DGA, it will still be a difficult process. “All of us—producers, directors, writers and everyone working in the entertainment business—need to get this right because in the rapidly evolving new-media marketplace, there is little margin for error.”

The DGA said it was “deeply disappointed” with the unraveling of talks between the WGA and AMPTP, calling the situation “dire.”

For full coverage of the strike, go to