George Clooney is urging his acting peers to put forth a united front in the face of the SAG and AFTRA contract dispute.
With another potential strike looming, the Oscar winner penned a two-page letter to each acting union, asking them to "just talk."
”What we can’t do is pit artist against artist,” he wrote.
AFTRA and SAG have been butting heads the last few months over studio deals. AFTRA has already hammered out a tentative agreement with studios, which is expected to be ratified July 8; however, SAG, feeling like the third wheel, is against the deal.
Should the AFTRA deal go through in two weeks, producers can make one final offer to SAG, and if the union declines it, studios have the option to lock out SAG members.
Both of AFTRA’s and SAG’s current deals expire on Monday.
Thus far, many of Hollywood’s elite have taken sides: Alec Baldwin and Tom Hanks are Team AFTRA while Jack Nicholson, Viggo Mortensen and Holly Hunter are pro-SAG.
George is playing Switzerland in all of this, calling the rift counterproductive and saying he understands both parties’ sides.
"Both are, of course, right," he wrote. "AFTRA feels that a work stoppage would be devastating to its members and SAG believes that if they don’t draw a line in the sand, the studios will repeat what they did with DVDs."
Trying to negotiate, the 47-year-old also makes two suggestions of his own.
"First, we set up a panel … Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks, for instance … 10 of them that sit down with the studio heads once a year … 10 people that the studio heads don’t often say "no" to," he suggested. "Those 10 people walk in the door with all the new data that SAG and AFTRA compile, and adjust the pay for actors… once a year."
Secondly, George calls for high-earning A-listers like himself — those who make "an exorbitant amount of money" — to do their part and pay a larger share of union dues.
"Right now, there’s a cap of 6,000 bucks that actors pay their union … based on $1 million in earnings," he said. "Make it $6,000 for every million … if someone makes $20 million, they pay $120,000 into the union. That could go a long way in helping pensions and health care.
He continued, "To be sure, I’m not the brightest bulb out there. So maybe someone has a lot better idea … I just happen to believe so strongly in both unions."
To read George’s full letter, click here.