Accusing it of numerous violations of labor laws, SAG-AFTRA has urged Spanish Broadcasting System to sit down at the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract for on-air employees at its two Los Angeles stations. Employees at regional Mexican “La Raza” KLAX-FM (97.9) and Spanish CHR “Mega 96.3 KXOL-FM voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the union last August but the two sides have since been unable to reach an agreement.
“Employees at ‘La Raza’ and ‘La Mega’ chose to organize due to ongoing systemic and endemic abuses at both stations,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement issued late Friday. “These include being paid less than the legally mandated minimum wage, denying meal breaks and access to bathrooms during live and remote events, denying overtime in violation of California law, exempting employees paid below wage threshold, denying cell phone reimbursements, and failing to provide payment for talent endorsement fees.” The union also accuses the broadcaster of unlawfully firing eight employees for their union activities.
SBS general counsel Mr. Richard Lara declined to comment on the allegations.
“It is appalling that in this country and in this day and age SBS, one of the largest Spanish-language media and entertainment companies in America, would terminate employees who are fighting for fair wages, safe working conditions and human dignity," SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in news release. “This employer has thus far ignored their obligation to bargain an agreement that will improve working conditions for its on-air employees, some of whom were paid less than minimum wage.” Carteris went on to say that the union will work to win the reinstatement of the eight terminated employees.
KLAX-FM and KXOL-FM are the first Spanish-language radio stations to organize in L.A., according to the union.
Added SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White, “Our conversations with this company have been unnecessarily difficult and we intend to move forward with the goals our members have set for SBS employees. This is just the beginning and we will continue to pursue this effort until these employees receive a contract that both addresses and ameliorates their concerns.”