DGA Sports, News Members Reach Tentative Deal with Networks

The Directors Guild of America reached a tentative agreement with ABC, CBS and NBC for a new three-year contract, the organization announced Tuesday.

The agreement covers guild staff and free-lance members in news, sports and operations on the local and national level.

The three-year contract includes wage increases and the framework for dialogue during the term of the deal. That flexibility is important due to the collective nature of the contract -- the DGA negotiated collective agreements with ABC, CBS and NBC three times since 1987 -- and the need to address administrative issues regarding pension and health benefits.

“Directing news and sports isn’t for the faint of heart,” DGA president Michael Apted said in a statement. “Our members bring valuable skills, technical knowledge and the ability to expect the unexpected to their work each day to deliver the world’s news and events.”

The DGA began its negotiations with the network collective Nov. 13 and concluded only four days later, Nov. 17. The contract will be submitted for a member vote in January but all signs point toward ratification. If approved by the membership, the new agreement will be effective July 1, 2008-June 30, 2011.

The DGA pact comes on the heels of a strike authorization vote by WGA members at CBS News. Approximately 300 of the 500 WGA-represented employees at CBS’ TV and radio operations in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles voted in a special election Nov. 15 and 16 approving a strike authorization by 81%.

CBS News has had a contract offer on the table since October 2006. WGA members overwhelmingly rejected that company's offer and have been working without a contract since April 2005. The two sides have not met since January 2007.