SAG-AFTRA wins organizing drive at Telemundo

MIAMI—By a 91-21 margin, actors, dancers, singers and stunt performers in telenovelas at Miami-based Telemundo, one of the nation’s two largest Spanish TV networks, voted March 8 to unionize with SAG-AFTRA.

“History was made today,” union President Gabrielle Carteris and executive director David White exulted. “This historic decision in favor of membership will impact Spanish-speaking actors working in the United States for years to come.”

SAG-AFTRA, the merged Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, called the win “the largest union vote for actors at a major U.S. television network in 65 years.” The new unit will represent 149 workers.

“It strengthens SAG-AFTRA by uniting performers in the fast-growing, Spanish-language market. We are reminded that the need and desire for creative professionals to be protected in their workplace transcends language, and that there is no substitute for active, engaged performers who are willing to unite and take a stand for themselves, their colleagues and their families.”

Parity was the key issue in the organizing drive. Telemundo is part of NBC-Universal and performers at the English-language NBC are unionized, with better benefits, pay, residuals and on-set safety measures than the non-union – until now – Telemundo workers.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to vote and create a working environment that is fair for everyone in our industry,” said Katie Barberi, an actor in 20 telenovelas, told the union. “We are proud of Telemundo’s success, and we believe SAG-AFTRA representation will make it an even better network in the future.”

Source: PAI