Clooney, Hanks urge "yes" vote on actors' contract

Fri May 29, 2009 10:23pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Some 500 actors, including prominent stars George Clooney and Tom Hanks, urged members of the largest U.S. actors union to vote "yes" on a new contract with Hollywood's major studios on Friday.

In a statement released by the 120,000-member Screen Actors Guild, signers "wholeheartedly recommend that SAG members VOTE YES on our tentative Television and Theatrical Contracts."

It ends with "I urge you to VOTE YES on this contract."

SAG had been embroiled in a bitter labor dispute with Hollywood's major film and television studios for nearly a year until last month when its contract negotiators reached an agreement over a new labor accord.

Key sticking points in negotiations had centered on how much actors would get paid for work released on the Internet. Some members, including SAG president Alan Rosenberg, have argued for more concessions by the studios.

The old contract expired on June 30 of 2008 and since then actors have been working without a labor deal. Hollywood has been on edge much of the past year fearing a possible strike amid the recession if a pact could not be reached.

The membership is currently voting, and ballots are expected to be counted up by early June.

Other members signing the statement urging a "yes" vote include SAG National Board Members Adam Arkin, Amy Brenneman and Morgan Fairchild. Other notable actors signing include Sally Field, Patricia Heaton, Rob Lowe and Sam Waterston.

(Editing by Anthony Boadle)

<p>Actor Tom Hanks waves to photographers during the world premiere of the movie "Angels &amp; Demons" at the Auditorium in Rome May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>