GEORGE CLOONEY PLEADS WITH UNIONS

Hollywood star George Clooney is pleading for the two rival Hollywood actors unions to put their bitter differences behind them and is urging them to provide a united front for the sake of the acting industry.The actor used his peacemaking skills to call for an end to the bitter battle between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Both unions are currently in crucial contract talks with film and TV studios, which expire on June 30th, to prevent another strike which crippled the industry from November (07) until February (08). Actors are threatening walkouts at the end of this month if talks between the unions and major film studios fail to resolve a dispute over pay and working conditions. But the two unions are currently at a standstill after AFTRA, a smaller union, agreed to a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).The SAG dismisses the agreed deal and is suggesting it undermines their own contract, and they have called upon heavyweights Jack Nicholson and Ben Stiller to urge members of AFTRA to reject the deal.To compete with the actors, AFTRA has recruited Tom Hanks to declare support for the deal. And Clooney has spoken out in a statement issued yesterday urging the unions not to pit actors against each other as it would have a devastating impact on the industry as a whole. He says, "Rather than pitting artist against artist, maybe we could find a way to get what both unions are looking for."Because the one thing you can be sure of is that stories about Jack Nicholson vs. Tom Hanks only strengthens the negotiating power of the AMPTP."

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