Accusing local Spanish-language radio stations La Raza and La Mega of multiple violations of state and federal labor law – including paying some on-air talent less than minimum wage – SAG-AFTRA today urged the stations to come to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract.
The stations’ on-air talent voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the union last August, but the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on what would become the first on-air union contract for any Spanish-language radio station in Los Angeles, which is the largest Spanish-language radio market in the country. The stations are owned by the Spanish Broadcasting System, which owns and operates 20 radio stations and six television stations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
“Employees at La Raza and La Mega chose to organize due to ongoing systemic and endemic abuses at both stations,” the union said in a statement. “These include being paid less than the legally mandated minimum wage, denying meal breaks and access to bathrooms during live and remote events, denying overtime in violation of California law, exempting employees paid below wage threshold, denying cell phone reimbursements, and failing to provide payment for talent endorsement fees.” SAG-AFTRA has also accused the stations of unlawfully terminating eight employees in retaliation for their union activities.
“It is appalling that in this country and in this day and age SBS, one of the largest Spanish-language media and entertainment companies in America, would terminate employees who are fighting for fair wages, safe working conditions and human dignity,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “This employer has thus far ignored their obligation to bargain an agreement that will improve working conditions for its on-air employees, some of whom were paid less than minimum wage. We are not done. We will continue to fight on behalf of La Raza and La Mega’s on-air employees to win the reinstatement of the eight employees unlawfully terminated for their union activities, and to negotiate a fair contract that will improve their livelihoods and protect jobs.”
“Our conversations with this company have been unnecessarily difficult and we intend to move forward with the goals our members have set for SBS employees,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White. “This is just the beginning and we will continue to pursue this effort until these employees receive a contract that both addresses and ameliorates their concerns.”