George Clooney Gets In Huge Fight With Union

George Clooney

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George Clooney is throwing his hat into the ring regarding squabbling going on between the two Hollywood actors' unions, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Both unions' contracts were set to expire on June 30 -- AFTRA signed a new contract with the producers' union, but SAG is holding out on making a deal. As a result, words have been flying between both unions and actors have been taking sides.

Clooney who has, until now, remained mum on the disagreement, is speaking his mind in a new statement, saying that he doesn't want artists to be pitted against other artists. "Maybe we could find a way to get what both unions are looking for," Clooney says hopefully. (For George's complete statement, click here.)

In his statement the 'Ocean's Thirteen' star says that he feels that it's his duty as one of the highest-earners in his field, to protect working actors: "I've been very lucky in my career, which has put me in the place that I don't need a union to check on my residuals, or my pension, or protect my 12 hour turnaround. I used to need that, and may again... but right now I don't. That means it's my responsibility to look out for actors who are trying to stay afloat from year to year. Anything less is irresponsible of me."

Clooney suggests forming a panel of top actors to help with negotiating. He says, "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. 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."

He also advocates raising the dues for actors who earns millions per year, saying, "Right now, there's a cap of six thousand bucks that actors pay their union... based on a million dollars in earnings. 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."

Clooney, with his typically humble attitude, says in closing, "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... my father, my mother, aunt, uncle, even cousins were all members of either SAG or AFTRA long before me."

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