The DGA reminded its members this week that the union has a “no-strike clause” which will remain in place even if the WGA goes on strike after May 1.
The union sent out an email on Tuesday to answer members’ questions about a possible writers’ strike. The DGA contract does not expire until June 30, so the directors cannot go on strike before then.
That does not mean that individual directors will be forced to cross picket lines — just that they can be fired for not showing up to work.
“Our no-strike clauses are clear,” the union’s leaders said. “However, as an individual, you cannot be forced to work. If you, as an individual, refuse to cross a picket line and perform your DGA-covered services, then your Employer has the right to replace you.”
The industry is preparing for the real possibility of a writers strike, which could begin as soon as May 2.
Writer-directors, who are members of both guilds, may feel pressure not to show up on set while their WGA brethren are on the picket lines. The DGA advised members that if they are employed solely in their director capacity, then they have to keep working.
It could get murky, however, if writer-directors are doing any rewriting on set.
If the WGA goes on strike, it is expected to issue a set of rules about what work it expects can and cannot be done and by whom.
On Monday, the WGA announced that 97.9% of members voted in favor of a strike authorization.
The WGA continues to negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Those talks are expected to go down to the wire. The two sides are far apart on a number of key issues, including residuals in streaming and a WGA proposal for a minimum staffing level on TV series.
On Wednesday, IATSE sent an email to its members, telling them they are not required to inform their employers about whether they will honor a picket line or not.
“We are closely monitoring the WGA-AMPTP negotiations, and should it become clear a strike is imminent, we are prepared to inform our members of all relevant individual rights and obligations,” wrote Matt Loeb, the international president of the union.
IATSE’s contract does not expire until July 31, 2024.
A union official told Variety on Wednesday that arrangements can be made to allow employees to continue to show up to work without crossing picket lines.
“We don’t cross picket lines,” the official said, suggesting that his members might arrange to go through an entrance where there is no active picketing. “There’s still going to be stuff going on.”
The DGA will begin negotiating its agreement on May 10, whether the writers are on strike or not. SAG-AFTRA is set to start bargaining on June 7 on its contract, which is also set to expire on June 30.
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