Telemundo Dissuades Talent’s Rights With Union-Busting Video

On Tuesday, Telemundo published an online video that featured the network’s president telling talent to vote NO against unionizing with SAG-AFTRA. Within hours, the Spanish-language video no longer appeared online, but Latino Rebels obtained a copy of the two-minute message, and it is sharing it here:

The video starts with Telemundo president Luis Silberwasser wishing everyone a Happy New Year and praising the network for its wonderful achievements. According to Silberwasser, the Comcast property is currently the country’s most popular Spanish-language channel and the largest producer of Spanish-language series in the United States. Silberwasser reiterates that Telemundo employs “Spanish-speaking actors and actresses in Miami, who otherwise would’ve never seen their dreams come true.”

Claiming that Telemundo is a “family that works together, for better or worse,” Silberwasser reminds his talent the need for unity and having a direct relationship between employer and employee. He goes on to congratulate SAG-AFTRA, saying that “SAG-AFTRA chose the right path asking for the election to represent Telemundo’s talent.” Nonetheless, Silberwasser encourages talent to “vote NO” in the upcoming election:

“[…]if I may be honest, I want to tell you that the best for you as talent and us as a corporation is to VOTE NO against your being represented by SAG-AFTRA. We’re the first ones to admit that Telemundo still has a lot of growth to do and many things to improve. But I think we can achieve better things working together, directly, without the union. […] Once you receive your card, please vote NO. Thank you for your commitment.”

Recently, the National Labor Board ruled that Telemundo talent can vote on unionization with SAG-AFRTA. The election will be a secret-ballot vote conducted from February 7 through March 8.

Before the video went online on Tuesday, in December Silberwasser had emailed Telemundo talent an almost identical message (Latino Rebels also obtained this email):

Although the right path is having an election to rightfully be represented like everyone else, Silberwasser, a native of Colombia, is encouraging his mainly Latino and Latina talent to “vote NO.” To give some perspective, Telemundo’s English-speaking counterparts at NBC Universal enjoy better wages and working conditions as they are all covered by SAG-AFTRA. In other words, the same company advocates for this: English-speaking = union; Latino(a), Spanish-speaking = non-union.

The union’s website at sagaftraunidos.org has additional information and a list of supporters that includes Alec Baldwin, Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon, Andy Garcia, Chris Rock, Kate del Castillo, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jaime Camil, Rita Moreno, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana and Bryan Cranston.

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Marlena Fitzpatrick tweets from @MarlenaFitz.

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