Tom Hanks Supports Deal to Avoid Another Hollywood Work Stoppage

Tom Hanks has thrown his support behind a contract deal reached by the smaller of two actors unions, putting his high-profile name against plans by the larger union to wring more concessions from the major Hollywood studios.

Hanks added his name to an e-mail petition urging members to vote for a deal reached May 28 by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and avoid another Hollywood work stoppage on the heels of the 100-day writers' strike, which put many actors out of work.

The Screen Actors Guild continued to negotiate with studios Monday and has urged its members to vote down the AFTRA deal.

Both unions' contracts on prime-time TV shows and movie productions expire June 30.

The AFTRA petition said a "no" vote would effectively shut down Hollywood.

"Either our employers will lock us out, or SAG will strike," it said. "There really is no alternative if the AFTRA deal is defeated."

Among other prominent backers of the petition are former SAG president Richard Masur, Loretta Swit from "M-A-S-H", James Cromwell from "L.A. Confidential" and other actors including Adam Arkin, Morgan Fairchild and Tess Harper.

Cromwell, a former SAG board member, told The Associated Press he felt SAG was pressing for demands that could not be met.

"You bargain as hard as you can. But when you make promises you can't keep and then you hold this town hostage by your belligerence and intransigence to the realities of the industry ... it ain't gonna fly," he said. "Let's get what we can get."

A representative for Hanks confirmed Monday the actor had added his name to the petition but was unavailable to comment because he was filming in Europe.

AFTRA mailed out ballots to its some 70,000 members last week and the results are expected to be announced July 8.

SAG, representing 120,000 members, has said that talks with Hollywood studios could extend past the end of the current contract on June 30, but it was willing to keep actors working without a deal. Some 44,000 are members of both unions.

The guild has said it would push for higher wage increases, increased fees for Internet and DVD content, better mileage reimbursements and more protection for actors who refuse to consent to the use of clips of their images online.

"When unions compete with different contract terms, actors lose," said SAG's chief negotiator Doug Allen, in a statement urging members to vote against the deal.