The Spanish Broadcasting System has fired back at SAG-AFTRA, which has accused the media company of failing to pay minimum wages and overtime to its employees at Los Angeles Spanish-language radio stations La Raza and Mega and refusing to bargain in good faith for a fair contract for them.

“The recent allegations trumpeted by the union against our company are not only totally false and malicious, they are, in fact, an insult to the talented and professional on-air personnel the union claims to represent,” SBS chairman Raúl Alarcón said in a statement. “Not only are the recent claims not true in the case of our Los Angeles personnel, they are untrue as evidenced by hundreds of employees who have worked at SBS during nearly 35 years of operations at dozens of broadcasting facilities throughout the country.

Alarcón said SBS “is one of the last remaining broadcasting entities owned, operated and controlled by Hispanics and a source of pride for millions of listeners as well as the artists and advertisers it has served since 1983. I find it ironic that, at this critical juncture when Latino culture and its institutions are under relentless attack, the union has singled out for criticism the one truly national Hispanic media organization with an unblemished historical record of service to our community. Nevertheless, the company will vigorously defend itself against these false claims to the fullest extent permitted by the law.”

La Raza and Mega are the first Spanish-language stations to organize in Los Angeles after their on-air talent voted overwhelmingly to join SAG-AFTRA on August 1, 2016. The union claims that since then, SBS “has violated federal law by refusing to bargain in good faith with SAG-AFTRA, and by retaliating against its on-air talent for unionizing by terminating eight employees who were openly supportive of SAG-AFTRA’s organizing effort and/or were owed monies in connection with SBS’ wage violations.”

Gabrielle Carteris
REX/Shutterstock

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris last week called on the State Labor Commissioner “to vigorously investigate the rampant violations of California wage and hour laws at SBS. Over the past 12 months, the company has also engaged in extensive and severe unfair labor practices, which are currently pending before the National Labor Relations Board. It has also done everything possible to hamper its negotiations with SAG-AFTRA. This is absolutely unacceptable. I have a message for SBS: We are not going away.”

“It is unfortunate that SAG-AFTRA once again is resorting to blatant and transparent attempts at intimidating our company into accepting unfair contract demands,” SBS General Counsel Richard D. Lara said in a statement. “SBS has provided witness testimony and thousands of documents to the NLRB directly contradicting the outlandish SAG-AFTRA allegations concerning a handful of employees at our two LA-based radio stations, and we fully expect to prevail against these spurious claims. Despite the union’s schoolyard tactics, SBS will continue to coordinate, cooperate and negotiate in good faith with SAG-AFTRA as we expect the union to focus on the facts and discontinue making untrue and inflammatory remarks in the media.”