SAG-AFTRA Covering Telemundo’s Latin American Music Awards

Dave McNary

In what may be a truce in a longstanding battle, the Telemundo network has agreed that the 2016 Latin American Music Awards will be covered by a SAG-AFTRA agreement.

It’s the first time that a nationally broadcast award show produced for the Telemundo network has been covered by SAG-AFTRA, which has been in the midst of a bitter unionization battle this year with the network.

The awards show will be televised from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Oct. 6 and produced by CMS Productions for Telemundo.

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “This is an important step. I applaud Telemundo for moving in the right direction by ensuring fair wages and working conditions for its performers during this year’s Latin American Music Awards. As the network increases production and reaches record audiences, we look forward to continued progress.”

The most recent firefight came on Aug. 26, when SAG-AFTRA aired a 30-second commercial highlighting the “double standard” that exists between English-language and Spanish-language talent at the network’s parent company, NBCUniversal. Telemundo and Comcast refused to air the Spanish-language spot during the network’s live broadcast of the Premios Tu Mundo awards, but other Spanish-language stations in Miami, New York and Los Angeles ran the ad.

Telemundo said in response last month that the ad did not pass legal standards for issue-based advertisement and said that it supported employees’ right to join and not to join a union. It has opposed SAG-AFTRA’s call for recognition as the bargaining rep and urged SAG-AFTRA instead to hold a secret ballot election.

Telemundo did not immediately respond Wednesday. The performers union asserted that Spanish-speaking performers at Telemundo are paid less than half of their English-speaking counterparts at NBC and don’t receive health benefits, residuals or other basic protections that are routinely provided to English-speaking performers at its sister network.

“This is a win for the performers on this program and we are thrilled that Telemundo’s Latin American Music Awards will be covered by a SAG-AFTRA agreement,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White. “We encourage NBCUniversal and Telemundo to continue to work with SAG-AFTRA to ensure equal protections for Spanish-language performers throughout the Telemundo production universe.”

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