“After legal review, we have concluded the ad did not pass legal standards for issued based advertisement.
“We remain committed to making Telemundo a great place to work for our employees and will continue to invest in them to ensure their salaries and working conditions are competitive.
“At Telemundo we support our employees’ right to join and not to join a union. Our talent and employees are capable of deciding what is in their own best interest. For that reason we believe our talent should exercise their freedom of choice to join a union or not, in a secret ballot election, a democratic process established by the National Labor Relations Board.
“We are dedicated to Telemundo’s long term success, which has created hundreds of high-value jobs and provided a valuable service to the Hispanic community in the United States.”
PREVIOUSLY, 4:52 PM: SAG-AFTRA has accused Telemundo of censorship for refusing to air a 30-second ad that accuses its parent company, NBCUniversal, of a “double standard” when it comes to paying performers on its Spanish-language network.
“Hay algo que NBCUniversal no quiere que sepas sobre Telemundo,” the union says. “NBCUniversal doesn’t want you to know something about Telemundo.” Watch the ad above.
Produced in-house, the ad is part of the union’s ongoing campaign to shame NBCUniversal into signing a contract covering Telemundo’s on-air talent. The ad accuses NBCUniversal of paying its actors less than half of what their English-language counterparts are paid at NBC.
“Picture two employees at the same company doing the same job,” the ad says. “One speaks English and is paid fairly and receives health benefits. The other speaks Spanish, gets paid less than half and gets zero health benefits. That’s an injustice, no matter where you work, and that’s exactly how Telemumdo’s performers are treated at NBCUniversal. It’s time to end this double standard and demand fair treatment for all performers, not just those who speak English.”
It’s probably not a fair comparison, however, since English-language performers who work on shows airing on NBCUniversal’s cable networks – such as Bravo, Syfy, USA and Oxygen – generally are paid considerably less than their counterparts at NBC.
The union says that the ad aired on Mega TV and Estrella TV – two Spanish-language TV stations that don’t appear to be signed to the union’s contract either. Earlier this month, the on-air talent at Mega voted overwhelmingly in favor of having SAG-AFTRA serve as their collective bargaining representative, but no deal has been reached yet. A search of the union’s database could not turn up any Estralla shows signed to its contract.
“Telemundo’s decision to censor 30 seconds of truthful commentary about its working conditions shows just how averse it is to having a transparent discussion about its refusal to fairly compensate Spanish-speaking performers,” the union said. “SAG-AFTRA’s goal is to ensure all talent, regardless of their race, ethnicity or language, have fair wages and certain protections. As a leading voice for the Hispanic American community, this should be Telemundo’s priority as well. Rather than hiding the truth from its growing audience, Telemundo should embrace an open dialogue and ensure its Spanish-speaking performers are treated equally – especially as the network enjoys unprecedented growth.”
The union doesn’t have a contract with Telemundo 52 in Los Angeles, but it represents performers at Telemundo’s KNJU-TV New York and WSNS Chicago. It also represents talent at Univision, Telemundo’s chief rival, at KMEX Los Angeles, WXTV New York and KDTV San Francisco. The Latin Grammys, which are broadcast on Univision, also are covered by SAG-AFTRA.
SAG-AFTRA spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt said the union has not done any information picketing of Telemundo so far nor filed any unfair labor practices charges against the network. She declined to say if the union has obtained any representational cards from performers there showing that a majority of them want to be represented by SAG-AFTRA. “We do not comment on authorization cards during organizing campaigns,” she said.
The union also released part of an August 17 internal memo from Telemundo president Cesar Conde crediting the on-air talent with helping the network to claim, for the first time in its history, the top ratings spot over rival Univision for the last five weeks in a row. “This is a historic achievement of which we are all very proud,” Conde said in the memo. “Clearly, Telemundo talent has played a very important role in this achievement.”
The union countered: “But this record growth hasn’t stopped NBCUniversal from allowing Telemundo to pay Spanish-speaking performers less than half of their English-speaking counterparts at NBC. Telemundo performers also don’t receive health benefits or other basic protections routinely provided to English-speaking performers at NBC.”