More than 200 union members rallied on Feb. 27 outside of Spanish Broadcasting System’s Los Angeles office at 5055 Wilshire Blvd., where its two local radio stations, Mega 96.3 FM and La Raza 97.9 FM are located, in support of SBS employees seeking first fair contracts.
“We are here in front of Spanish Broadcasting System stations Mega and La Raza fighting with our courageous members who voted to join SAG-AFTRA more than three and a half years ago – and they still don’t have a fair first contract,” said Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA.
State Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), SAG-AFTRA L.A. Local President Patricia Richardson and union members Jon Huertas (“This is Us”) and Elyfer Torres (“Betty en NY”) gave speeches reaffirming their commitment to support the SBS bargaining unit members during negotiations that happened later that afternoon.
SBS is one of the largest Hispanic-owned media companies in the United States. Three years ago, Los Angeles SBS employees voted to join SAG-AFTRA, and since then, SBS and its union employees have been negotiating a contract.
According to SAG-AFTRA, SBS continues to propose a 15% wage cut. In 2017, on-air and off-air employees were wrongfully terminated — and later reinstated after an order by the National Labor Relations Board.
Durazo said she doesn’t think these union workers are asking for anything special and finds it appalling SBS hasn’t come to an agreement with its employees. SAG-AFTRA has contracts with 19 other radio stations in L.A. and television stations Telemundo and Univision, she said.
“Three and a half years ago, these workers won a democratic election fair and square according to the laws of the land,” Durazo said. “An overwhelming majority stood together and demanded fair wages, not minimum wages, but fair wages.”
Felix Castillo, known as on-air talent DJ Mr. Boro, is part of the SBS bargaining unit seeking a fair contract. Castillo said they just want proportional dignified wages for their work.
Castillo has been part of the radio industry for 15 years. He’s seen robust growth since the 1970s due to advertising revenue.
“There’s a myth that this industry is barely up and coming in the future,” Castillo said. “That there’s not a lot of money right now, which is why we have to make sacrifices, but that is not true.”
SBS could not be reached for comment.
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