Monday, August 28, 2017

L-A Radio: SAG-AFTRA Battles SBS Radio Stations

The union that represents actors and broadcasters is taking on one of the nation’s largest Spanish-language radio networks over allegations of unlawful firing and paying unfair wages.

According to The LA Daily News, the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists filed six labor charges against the Spanish Broadcasting System Inc., which owns La KLAX Raza 97.9 FM and KXOL Mega 96.3 FM, citing the alleged unlawful firing of eight employees in retaliation for their union activities and threatening to terminate six additional workers, according to documents filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

“They were treated as second-class citizens,” said Julie Gutman Dickinson, an attorney and partner at Bush Gottlieb, a law firm that represents SAG-AFTRA in the case before the NLRB. “This company is the most outrageous I have ever seen.”

The legal saga started last year after union representatives began negotiations with SBS employees, who said they wanted to join SAG-AFTRA because they were allegedly paid less than minimum wage, denied overtime, reimbursements, meal breaks and access to the bathroom during live promotional events and concerts, according to Gutman Dickinson.

“They were misclassified as exempt when they were not exempt, and they were denied reimbursement, which violates California law,” Gutman Dickinson said.

Then in August 2016, SBS employees voted overwhelmingly, 21 to 1, in favor of joining the union.

But when SBS started bargaining with SAG-AFTRA about the terms of a contract, the broadcaster’s representatives showed up late for the meetings and took phone calls during negations, failing to bargain in good faith, Gutman Dickinson said.

What followed next has drawn the ire of SBS workers and union representatives alike, according to Gutman Dickinson.

“SBS interrogated the employees about who supported the union,” Gutman Dickinson said. “They were engaged in a full campaign of fear, threatening the employees that they would terminate them.”

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