SAG-AFTRA Pushing Unionization for Telemundo Performers

SAG-AFTRA has called on NBCUniversal to allow for the unionization of Spanish-language performers on its Telemundo productions.

The performers union accused NBCUniversal of operating with a double standard between Spanish-language and English-language talent hired for productions under the same parent corporation.

SAG-AFTRA made the announcement Tuesday on the heels of NBCUniversal unveiling plans for a new headquarters in Miami for its Telemundo operations — including Telemundo Network, Telemundo Studios, Telemundo International, the cable network NBC Universo and all of the company’s digital media operations.

“SAG-AFTRA strongly supports the expansion of production infrastructure wherever it creates quality jobs for entertainment industry professionals,” said SAG-AFTRA Miami Local executive director Herta Suarez. “This ground breaking is an opportunity for NBCUniversal to lead the industry and help end the perpetuation of second-class status for professional performers who work in Spanish-language programming.”

The union said that because talent on Spanish-language networks are not covered by SAG-AFTRA contracts, the performers do not receive benefits that SAG-AFTRA contracts provide such as fair pay, water breaks, health insurance and residuals.

Telemundo issued a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to SAG-AFTRA’s assertions.

“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 with the rest of the broadcasting industry in accordance with market size and station revenues. As demonstrated by the announcement of our new state-of-the-art facilities today, we are dedicated to Telemundo’s long term success, a success which has created hundreds of high-value jobs and provided a valuable service to the Hispanic community in the United States,” a spokesperson said.

Suarez said, “We will be closely monitoring Telemundo’s development on behalf of actors, dancers and other professional performers in Florida, and we will continue to advocate for fair pay and working conditions for all performers, regardless of the language in which they are performing.”

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