UPDATED with more quotes: Roughly 200 SAG-AFTRA members and staff rallied today outside the Los Angeles offices of the Spanish Broadcasting System – the union’s latest gambit in its three-year-long campaign to secure a first-ever contract at the network’s Spanish-language radio stations La Raza and Mega.
“We’re here fighting for SBS workers who have been denied a right for a fair contract,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said at the event. “We have been negotiating with them for 3 1/2 years, and every time, they have come to the bargaining table in bad faith. It’s time for SBS to step up and negotiate.”
David White, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director, accused SBS of having “violated the law again and again,” telling the cheering crowd, “We are here to tell SBS, ‘No longer!’”
Said Patricia Richardson, president of SAG-AFTRA’s Los Angeles local: “We support these SBS workers, who are only asking for a fair wage and a decent living, This is a labor town and a labor state, and we are going to take our labor movement throughout the country.”
In 2016, the National Labor Relations Board certified the union as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the stations’ hosts, announcers, DJs and other employees who regularly perform on-air services. “Since then,” the union said, “SBS has continued to violate federal law by engaging in over 100 separate unfair labor practices, including a refusal to bargain in good faith.”
Last month, Joanna Silverman, the NLRB’s acting regional director, issued a complaint and notice of hearing after determining that SBS “has been failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith” with the guild; “has been interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights” guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act; and “has been discriminating in regard to the terms or conditions of employment of its employees.”
SBS steadfastly has denied the union’s allegations, accusing the union of “resorting to blatant and transparent attempts at intimidating our company into accepting unfair contract demands.” SBS CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. has called the union’s allegations “totally false and malicious” and “an insult to the talented and professional on-air personnel the union claims to represent.”
As part of its escalating campaign to shame SBS into signing a contract, the union has hired famed cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, author on the nationally syndicated comic strip La Cucaracha, to create a series of cartoons depicting SBS as unfair to its workers. The first cartoon, released this week, shows Alarcón in a sombrero, holding a whip while riding on the back of an SBS on-air employee.
“While we are compensating Lalo for his time, the nature of the partnership is rooted in his desire to support the cause of SBS employees fighting for a fair contract and to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, not solely a financial transaction,” the union said.
Others taking part in the rally included La Raza on-air talent DJ Mr. Boro; state Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles); Los Angeles County Federation of Labor president Ron Herrera; and actors Jon Huertas (This Is Us), Elyfer Torres (Betty en New York) and Aloe Blacc (Lift Your Spirit).
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