SAG-AFTRA is calling on the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to rescind the Businessperson of the Year Award it presented Wednesday to Raul Alarcón, chairman and CEO of the Spanish Broadcasting System.
The union, which calls SBS “an abuser of Hispanic broadcast talent and media workers,” has been battling the broadcaster since August, 2016, when the on-air talent at two of its LA radio stations – La Raza and MEGA – voted to unionize. The union says that since the vote, SBS has refused to bargain in good faith for a first-time contract.
Honoring Alarcón “is a slap in the face for the company’s Hispanic employees who have worked so diligently to ensure its prosperity and growth,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White. “They have worked for SBS’s success despite their second-class treatment.”
“Evidence of this treatment,” White said in a statement, “is found in the litany of labor law violations and the National Labor Relations Board complaints against SBS, Mr. Alarcón’s company. The NLRB this July issued a second complaint against the company for its continued bad-faith, surface bargaining with no intention of getting an agreement, as well as numerous other egregious violations of federal labor laws including wage theft, unpaid overtime, employee intimidation, the denial of bathroom and meal breaks, the cancelation of scheduled wage increases to employees, threats of reprisals to workers standing up for their rights and unlawful discipline.”
In 2017, SBS agreed to pay a nearly $500,000 NLRB settlement with the union that included back pay, offers of job re-instatement to eight wrongfully terminated employees, as well as the union’s bargaining expenses.
“In spite of this,” White said, “SBS continues to violate the law with impunity and still refuses to negotiate fairly with SAG-AFTRA, which represents many SBS employees in collective bargaining. All of this while SBS touts its role as a champion of the community simply because it is the largest employer of Hispanic broadcast talent in the U.S. While that might be debatable, one thing is clear – SBS is an abuser of Hispanic broadcast talent and media workers.”
White added: “Because we know that USHCC cares deeply about the Hispanic community, we wanted to inform you of these issues. We find it troubling that a person and business with this type of track record would be recognized by the USHCC, an organization that advocates for the Hispanic community.”