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Directors Guild board approves new contract with studios

December 9, 2010 |  2:45 pm

Hollywood's directors stuck to the script, securing an increase in contributions to their health plan under a new three-year contract unanimously approved by the guild board Thursday.

The proposed contract, negotiated with the major studios this week, was modeled after a similar deal recently secured by Hollywood's actors' unions. It provides a 2% annual increase in pay and requires employers to contribute funds worth an additional 1.5% of DGA members' compensation into the union's health plan.

Currently, employers contribute funds worth 8.5% of employee paychecks to the health plan. The new contract would raise the level to 10% and was a main priority for the guild, which, like many other unions, wanted to shore up a health plan hit hard by rising medical costs and lower investment returns.

Additionally, employers agreed to other changes that will allow for more of the DGA's 14,500 members to qualify for health care. The proposed contract also provides a higher compensation for DGA directors working on "high budget" basic cable shows (which the union didn't define in its release).

"This substantial new agreement accomplishes our most important objectives,'' DGA President Taylor Hackford said in a statement.

The new contract, which would take effect July 1, has yet to be ratified by members.

-- Richard Verrier