SAG-AFTRA, Elected Officials & Civil Rights Leaders Condemn Spanish Broadcasting System
SAG-AFTRA was joined today by Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu (6th district), Organizing Director of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) Antonio Bernabe and other community leaders at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor for an event that highlighted a myraid of labor law violations committed by Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. (SBS). The event was held in support of current employees as well as former employees from SBS' La Raza 97.9 FM and MEGA 96.3 FM, who were unlawfully terminated by SBS. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and actor Jon Huertas (This Is Us) also spoke at the event.
SBS employees at La Raza and MEGA voted to join SAG-AFTRA in 2016 by an overwhelming majority, making them the first Spanish-language radio stations to organize in Los Angeles. The company has since failed to negotiate a fair contract with the union, and refuses to engage in good faith bargaining over economics, including wages. Carteris began the forum by revealing the union's next steps stating, "SAG-AFTRA today delivered a letter to Julie Su, the Labor Commissioner of California, calling upon her and her department to vigorously investigate the rampant violations of California wage and hour laws at SBS. Over the past 12 months, the company has also engaged in extensive and severe unfair labor practices, which are currently pending before the National Labor Relations Board. It has also done everything possible to hamper its negotiations with SAG-AFTRA. This is absolutely unacceptable. I have a message for SBS: We are not going away."
Employees at La Raza and MEGA chose to organize and join SAG-AFTRA due to ongoing systemic and endemic abuses at both stations. These violations of California law include being paid less than the legally mandated minimum wage, denying rest breaks, denying meal breaks and access to bathrooms during live and remote events, denying overtime, exempting employees paid below the wage threshold, denying reimbursement for cell phones rand other business expenses, and failing to provide payment for talent endorsement fees.
"Whether you are a Latino DJ working at a popular Spanish-language radio station or an acclaimed actor in a hit network TV show, you deserve to be treated with fairness and dignity," said Councilmember Ryu.
SAG-AFTRA represents Spanish-speaking broadcasters and journalists across the country, including Univision in Los Angeles (KMEX), New York (WXTV and Radio WADO) and San Francisco (KDTV), and Telemundo in New York (WNJU/TV), Philadelphia (WUSI/TV), and Chicago (WSNS/TV).
Photo caption: Elected officials, members of the Los Angeles labor community, and SAG-AFTRA members gathered at the SBS Community Forum at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor on Aug. 29. From left: Julie Gutman Dickinson, partner at Bush Gottlieb and outside counsel for SAG-AFTRA; SAG-AFTRA members Abraham Chavez, Jon Huertas, DJ Mr. Boro and Yareli Arizmendi; SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris; L.A. City Councilmember David E. Ryu; and Antonio Bernabe, Organizing Director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). Photo by Jesse Grant/SAG-AFTRA
About SAG-AFTRA SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org.
Photo by Jesse Grant/SAG-AFTRA