The firings took place in March at two Los Angeles Spanish-language music stations, La Raza (KLAX/KXOL 97.9 FM) and Mega (96.3 FM). The employees had voted in August, 2016, to join the union.
Felix Castillo, who is on the air as “DJ Mr. Boro,” said, “I feel completely vindicated, happy and strong that the fight was worth every second, every tear and every drop of sweat. We have a lot of work to do. We have to achieve industry wide changes but I am very happy that SBS Los Angeles was the first step and I am looking forward to being a part of the lasting change in the radio industry.”
The union said Tuesday that attorneys for both sides negotiated on the courthouse steps while an imminent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) trial and threat of a federal court injunction loomed over SBS. In October, the NLRB issued a formal complaint against SBS after finding merit to unfair labor practice charges filed by the union against the media company.
SAG-AFTRA said that the employees will receive full backpay, interest, and expenses through Jan. 14, 2018, and that SBS offered the choice of reinstatement or significant front pay to all eight employees with most choosing to return to work their former positions at SBS. SBS has agreed that by mid-January, it will provide to SAG-AFTRA an economic proposal, including specific dollar figures for wages and fees to be paid to bargaining unit members.
SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement, “This is a significant victory for these union members and an incredible symbol of hope for workers fighting for economic justice across our country. This win sends a message — loud and clear — that employers will not be able to get away with terminating employees who exercise their right to unionize. We still have a hard fight ahead to achieve a fair union contract for the reinstated SBS employees and their co-workers, but we are optimistic that we will prevail. SAG-AFTRA will not rest until there is justice at SBS.”