SAG-AFTRA has reached what it calls a “historic” agreement with Telemundo Television Studios covering Spanish-language TV performers. The deal comes after 15 months of negotiations following a March 8, 2017, vote by Telemundo performers to unionize. Telemundo is the largest employer of Spanish-language talent in the United States.
“This is a historic moment for Spanish-language performers in our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “I am incredibly proud of our negotiating team and what they have accomplished. I also want to acknowledge Telemundo’s efforts in working with us to reach this agreement: a first contract with residuals, minimums, and pension and health – three pillars that set a strong foundation for generations to come.”
Said David White, the union’s national executive director, “This precedent-setting tentative agreement is a new beginning for Telemundo performers and speaks to the future of the Spanish-language media industry.”
Added Telemundo: “As the leading Spanish-language prime time content producer in the U.S., Telemundo Television Studios is pleased to have reached an agreement with SAG-AFTRA for performers on our scripted dramatic productions in the U.S. After a thoughtful and productive negotiation, we look forward to working with our performers and other employees to continue creating the best content in Spanish-language media.”
The National Labor Relations Board conducted an election of Telemundo performers 15 months ago in which they voted by more than 80% in favor of membership in SAG-AFTRA. This marked the first time in 65 years that a group of actors at a major television network sought a unionization election.
Key provision of the new contract include:
- Contributions to and participation in the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and SAG-Producers Pension Plan for the first time
- Residuals for both foreign and domestic exploitation and streaming platforms, based on a percentage of Telemundo’s gross receipts
- First ever guaranteed minimum rates for all covered performer categories, including actors, stunt performers, singers and dancers
- Annual increases in all newly-established minimums between 1-2% per year
- Substantially upgraded minimum rates for day players after the ninth day of work on any production
- Newly established working conditions and safety protections, including: minimum rest period between calls of 10 hours; requirement for qualified personnel to coordinate stunts; provisions regarding protection of minors, and overtime, holiday pay, and per diem when on location.
“We applaud Telemundo for working together with us to achieve this agreement,” said Pablo Azar, a Telemundo performer and chair of the union’s negotiating committee. “I am so proud to be part of the team that helped establish our first union contract with its health benefits, residuals, and other protections. This agreement reaffirms that a strong union contract goes hand in hand with successful programming.”
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s general counsel, chief operating officer and lead negotiator in the talks, said, “After spending fifteen months working together to solve the numerous and complex issues facing Spanish-language performers, it’s extremely gratifying to have reached an agreement that addresses the needs of performers while ensuring Telemundo can maintain its successful business model and make outstanding programming with the best talent.”
Details of the new agreement will be presented tonight to the unit performers at an informational in Miami and to the SAG-AFTRA national board for approval at its upcoming meeting on July 21.
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