Hanks, Clooney, Field among supporters

The heavy hitters have come out in favor of ratifying SAG’s contract with the majors — including Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Sally Field and Tom Hanks.

The stars are some of the more than 500 SAG members who have endorsed ratification of the Screen Actors Guild’s feature-primetime contract as backers of the deal amped up their campaign.

“I voted yes because I think it is a smart contract for these hard economic times,” Hanks said in a video posted late Friday on the SAG website. “To have no contract for the past year has hurt actors, and this new contract repairs much of that damage.”

SAG announced the endorsements in a “message of solidarity” to members to support the two-year deal. The pact had been under relentless attack by hardline opponents, led by SAG president Alan Rosenberg, with the biggest complaints coming on perceived shortfalls in new-media pay and jurisdiction.

Opponents of the deal have previously clashed with high-profiles such as Baldwin, Clooney, Field and Hanks for taking moderate positions for more than a year. Hanks and Clooney joined with Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro early last year in urging SAG to start negotiations ASAP; a large number of stars also endorsed AFTRA’s primetime deal last summer despite SAG’s opposition and then opposed a strike authorization vote last winter.

Ballots went out to 110,000 SAG members on May 19 and are due back June 9. Those opposed to the deal have contended that voting it down will force companies to sweeten terms, although the congloms have said they will not do so.

Backers also include former SAG president Melissa Gilbert, SAG second VP Sam Freed and SAG third VP David Hartley Margolin along with Ed Begley Jr., Jane Curtin, Mike Farrell, Patricia Heaton, Kathy Joosten, Rob Lowe, Ian McShane and Sam Waterston.

The campaign in favor of the deal has noted that members have been working under terms and conditions of a film-TV contract that expired last June 30, when the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers made their final offer. They’ve noted that SAG members have lost out on an estimated $85 million in salary gains as a result of not having a new deal.

Rosenberg remains convinced that the deal appears headed for defeat, contending that the reaction he’s received in calls and emails has been very supportive. He’s asserted that if the AMPTP won’t improve the terms, SAG leaders should ask for a strike authorization — which would require 75% approval from those members voting.

Deal proponents, including national board member Adam Arkin and interim national exec director David White, have predicted that the measure will pass easily.

Rob Schneider, Ed Harris and William Petersen have recently come out against the deal, joining Martin Sheen, Elliott Gould and John Heard.

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