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SAG-AFTRA Statement on Telemundo's Message to Employees

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 12, 2016) -- In an email from NBCUniversal Telemundo President Luis Silberwasser to employees, the company fell short in addressing the double standard that exists between Spanish-language and English-language talent within its own organization. 

Currently, talent on Spanish-language networks are not protected under SAG-AFTRA contracts that would ensure performers receive fair wages and protections for their work. As such, many actors do not receive basic workplace guarantees that SAG-AFTRA contracts provide, such as fair pay, water breaks, health insurance and residuals, among others.

“NBCUniversal, through its Telemundo-branded content, is perpetuating one set of standards for its English-language performers and a lower set of standards for Spanish-language performers,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard. “You cannot claim to support diversity and inclusion on the one hand while treating Spanish-language performers as second-class employees on the other.”

Telemundo stated in its message that it would prefer to have its employees vote on whether to join SAG-AFTRA. SAG-AFTRA’s position on this is clear: There is no such thing as a “fair vote” when workers are afraid for their careers and livelihoods, and live with the fear of retaliation if they are seen as actively wanting to unionize. SAG-AFTRA wants to ensure full protection for workplace democracy and performers’ rights to choose through a truly fair process.

The question here is simple: Should Spanish-speaking employees be treated like second-class professionals? We choose to believe the answer is a resounding “No” and we urge NBCUniversal to join us in correcting this inequity.

“SAG-AFTRA and NBCUniversal have a strong history of working collaboratively to address issues in a constructive manner in regard to English-language programming,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. “We strongly encourage NBCUniversal to respect its Spanish-language talent by engaging in similar collaboration.”