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Jack Nicholson and Ben Stiller Challenge Tom Hanks in Union Agreement

Jack Nicholson and Ben Stiller are taking on Tom Hanks as Hollywood stars pick sides in the battle between the two leading acting unions.

Actors are threatening walkouts at the end of June if talks between the unions and major film studios fail to resolve a dispute over pay and conditions.

Hanks recently signed an email petition urging members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to accept a “solid deal” offered by studio bosses.

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But fellow Hollywood stars Stiller and Nicholson are encouraging AFTRA members to turn down the proposal after siding with the rival union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), whose members are negotiating a separate contract.

Stiller and Nicholson are set to appear in print ads on Thursday that urge union members to reject the proposal–siding instead with SAG, which claims the contract would set a precedent that could potentially harm their negotiating power with movie studio bosses.

The ad–signed by the pair–states: “We are not finished… We believe there are issues that are at the heart of every actor’s career that remain unresolved by AFTRA.”

The current contract for both unions will expire on Monday.

Among negotiating points for both unions are daily minimum compensation for actors and DVD and Internet fees.

AFTRA bosses have warned that turning down their proposed deal with the studios could spark a strike similar to the Writers Guild of America strike, which brought Hollywood to a standstill from November until February, and cost the California economy a projected 37,700 jobs and $2.1 billion in lost output, according to reports.

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