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SAG-AFTRA Seeks to Rescind Honor for SBS Topper Raul Alarcon

SAG-AFTRA has asked the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to rescind its recognition of SBS Broadcasting CEO Raul Alarcon, citing multiple instances in which the performers union has clashed with the network.

“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,” said David White, national executive director of SAG-AFTRA.

Alarcón was honored on Oct. 2 with the Businessperson of the Year Award at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 40th anniversary National Convention in Albuquerque, N.M. White issued the request that the award be taken away on Friday in an email to Ramiro Cavazos, president and CEO of the chamber.

“I am writing to ask that the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce rescind its recognition of Raul Alarcón,” White said. “We feel that honoring the CEO of the Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) is a slap in the face for the companys Hispanic employees who have worked so diligently to ensure its prosperity and growth. They have worked for SBSs success despite their second-class treatment.”

“Evidence of this treatment is found in the litany of labor law violations and the National Labor Relations Board complaints against SBS, Mr. Alarcón’s company,” White said. “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.”

White noted that the NLRB had earlier found that SBS had violated the law and the company in December 2017 agreed to a nearly $500,000 settlement with SAG-AFTRA that included back pay, offers of job re-instatement to eight wrongfully terminated employees, as well as our unions bargaining expenses.

“In spite of this, 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,” he added. “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.”

SBS and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Variety.  

Cavazos issued a statement spurning SAG-AFTRA’s request: “The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is focused on uplifting Hispanic-owned businesses in America. The USHCC respects the work of SBS in promoting Latino broadcast talent and creating a pipeline for Latinos in entertainment. We stand by our award at this time in recognition of those efforts.

 

(Pictured: SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris)

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