Entertainment

Telemundo Asked Them Not To Unionize, But Its Actors Just Voted To Do So

Late last year, Telemundo was riding high on a wave of success. As the result of a push for original programming, the Comcast-NBC Universal-owned network was now competing, and in some cases, beating its competition, Univision, in ratings. Many of the performers who worked for Telemundo, however, were not seeing the fruits of that success. For roughly three years, Telemundo actors have sought compensation for overtime, residual payments and health insurance — and now they’ve taken steps to secure.

In a historic victory, Telemundo performers, a majority of which are Spanish-language talent, voted 91 to 21 in favor of joining the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). Telemundo currently employs about 500 performers on the more than 100 telenovela episodes it produces each year, mostly in Miami, according to Deadline.

Many of the actors and entertainers who work on major TV shows, films, and commercials are members of the SAG-AFTRA union, which helps establish their base pay, gives them access to health insurance and other benefits. Telemundo did not work with SAG-AFTRA, meaning its performers working on U.S.-based telenovelas were paid less and were not eligible for the protections and benefits provided by the union.

Actress Katie Barberi, a longtime member of SAG-AFTRA, voted to unionize because her work with Telemundo was not protected. She calls the vote to unionize a miracle.

“I have always wanted to [unionize],” said Barberi, who’s been in about 20 telenovelas. She said it’s “for the benefit of everyone. Even for the benefit of those that aren’t so sure if it’s a good idea.”

Barberi says that she understands how much a union contract benefits an actor because she’s worked on both sides of the spectrum, with her membership with SAG-AFTRA and without. Her job as an actress has taken her to work in various countries including Mexico and Colombia, and in Miami, which is where Telemundo productions are primarily located.

She says the most important exclusion that actors face by not having a union contract is not being paid residuals for syndicated programming. Telemundo sells their telenovela productions to 50 and 80 countries, and yet they never are compensated for any of this revenue.

This is a very unusual because actors on major TV shows are paid royalties for their work. However, Telemundo performers never see a dime from these worldwide sales.

Barberi said the small margin of those that voted against unionizing were plagued with fear and didn’t want to betray their employer.

Earlier this year, Telemundo president Luis Silberwasser released a video where he asked his employees to vote against unionizing.

Telemundo Via Latino Rebels

In the video, Silberwasser said that Telemundo was giving many people opportunities, employing “Spanish-speaking actors and actresses in Miami, who otherwise would’ve never seen their dreams come true.” He continued by saying that “Telemundo is a family that works together, for better or worse,” and that they could “achieve better things working together, directly, without the union.”

Many Telemundo performers believed Silberwasser’s video was a form of indirect intimidation and worried about retaliation if they unionized.

“There was big fear among our coworkers,” Barberi tells mitú. “even though we tried to express throughout the campaign that every vote would be secret.” She said that even though the voting process is done thoroughly and without names, some people didn’t believe them. Silberwasser’s words did not persuade enough voters in his favor.

Another actor who voted to unionize is Mexican actor Pablo Azar. He told mitú he is thrilled over the outcome.

“This was a long process,” Azar tells mitú. “Me and my fellow actors were afraid that this would never happen.”

The 34-year-old, who can be seen in telenovelas such as “Bella Calamidades” and “El Talisman,” has sold original paintings and worked as an Uber driver to make ends meet.

Azar says they faced a lot of obstacles against a unionization, including the working laws in Miami, so it was very encouraging to have the support of A-List actors. The campaign had the support from current SAF-AFTRA members 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.

On social media, people showed their support for Telemundo actors with the hashtag #SagAftraUnidos.

In a press release, actor Luis Guzman said he was “very proud of all those who took a step forward towards equality and the fundamental right of being represented by SAG-AFTRA,” and added “In unity y siempre p’alante mi gente!”

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said this vote sends a “powerful message of hope and solidarity at a critical moment in the history of our union and of the creative community.”

“Regardless of the language we speak, we can all unite to improve conditions for performers working professionally in our industry,” Carteris said. “Telemundo performers have laid a foundation that will improve lives for generations to come.”

A representative for Telemundo released the following statement regarding the unionization of their employees, saying that while the network “is disappointed with this result, we remain committed to all of our employees and will move forward with the negotiation process after the election results have been certified by the NLRB. We continue to be dedicated to making Telemundo a great place to work and to Telemundo’s long-term success.”

READ: This Is What You Feel When You Watch A Telenovela

Do you support Telemundo performers choice to unionize? Let us know how you feel by sharing this story and commenting below!

Latinas Are Opening Up On Instagram About Why They Didn’t Report Their Sexual Assault And The Stories Are Heartbreaking

Fierce

Latinas Are Opening Up On Instagram About Why They Didn’t Report Their Sexual Assault And The Stories Are Heartbreaking

Drew Angerer / Getty

TRIGGER WARNING for victims of assault.

Recently we came across six stories by women who opened up about why they didn’t report their sexual assault via the account @whyididntreport. Heartbreaking, tragic, and also empowering each of these stories were a reminder that not only do we need to believe women but also support them.

As a response to the posts, we asked Latinas what experiences they had with keeping quiet about their assaults.

See their stories below.

Because it was a family member

@whyididntreport / Instagram

“My mom did not believe me because it was her husband … we would always fight and he would put her against me … that’s why I always say my children will always come first … then anyone … even before me and my own needs.” – soley_geez

Because of the statute of limitations

@whyididntreport / Instagram

“I did report. The cop taking notes told me they couldn’t file the report because of the statue of limitation being 10 years. I was reporting 13 years after I was raped. I was 3 years old when it happened. I was 16 when I reported.” – jedi_master_evila

Because she’d been labeled dramatic

@whyididntreport / Instagram

“He was my ex boyfriends cousin and I was intoxicated after a night of partying with a group of friends. I said no over and over again. I never came forward because I was already labeled/seen as “dramatic” by my ex and his friends and figured they wouldn’t believe me.” – love.jes

Because she was punished by her parents

@whyididntreport / Instagram

“I was 12. He was 18. My parents found a note he wrote to me. They spoke harshly with him but never pressed charges and punished me for lying.” 0valicorn_rainbow_pants

Because it was someone she thought loved her

@whyididntreport / Instagram

“I had a boyfriend rape me after I confronted him about lying and cheating. He used it as a way to punish me. And I stayed with him a year after the fact. I’m still processing feelings almost 20 years later. I’ve gone through self-destructive behaviors and tried to push others away. I’m forever grateful my husband showed me I am worthy of a beautiful life even after trauma. To all my fellow trauma survivors…we are worthy of good things.” – thebitchyhippie559

She thought she deserved it

@whyididntreport / Instagram

“He was my “step” grandfather. He molested me from ages 5-10, I was having some rebellious teen years and my parents were trying to find out why. I told them, my dad didn’t talk to me for a few days and after that everyone pretended that nothing happened and the rest of my family never found out. I held on to this secret until I told my parents at about 16 or 17 I was always so embarrassed and thought I deserved it.” – klemus09

She didn’t want to ruin HIS life

“It was my boss. At 15 I felt so bad, bc the wife was the only other person working with us and I was more worried about what this could do to their marriage. I thought I healed but typing this was hard.” –dolores.arts

If you or someone you know needs to report sexual assault, please contact the National Sexual Assault Helpline 800.656.4673 or speak with someone you trust.⁠⠀

Latinas Are Forcing Themselves To Examine How They Are Showing Up For The Black Community

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Latinas Are Forcing Themselves To Examine How They Are Showing Up For The Black Community

Eze Amos / Getty

Months have passed since the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd but members of the Black community continue to fight against police brutality. While news reports of protests might have slowed down, it’s important to know that showing up for Black people has so much power.

Recently, we asked Latinas “How are we showing up for our Black brothers and sisters?” and the answers were pretty humbling.

Recognize the relative privileges we have

“This week has been so, so heavy, but we need to ask ourselves how we are showing up for the Black community outside of the weeks when headlines are grim and cities are on fire. How are we showing up for Black people in our everyday lives? 365 days a year? I am speaking specifically to my community here: [Non-Black] Latinxs, we have so far to go when it comes to protecting the dignity of our own people, I know. I know our people are also hurting. But we HAVE to recognize the relative privileges we have and the ways in which the Black community’s freedom is directly tied to our own. We all deserve dignity. We all deserve the ability to move through the world without fearing for our lives. Some of us haven’t ever had to worry about that—so what are we doing to help those who do worry for their safety and the safety of loved ones every single day? Please pay attention. Please speak out and hold the people in your life accountable. We are ALL responsible. We all need to be doing more—no matter our race or ethnicity. Please, let’s take care of each other.” – @ludileiva

Show up to protests

“Showing up to local peaceful protests and talking to my family and friends about how we need to stand together. It is my hope our black brothers and sisters will stand with us when we have to face our government on DACA and caged children.” – lil_yo11

Donate and give

“Definitely by donating, signing petitions, educating others on issues like this that affect the black community, posting about it, and speaking out when it happens. Our voices and actions definitely need to be heard during this time.”- belleza_xoxo

Continue to fight

“Many of us ARE. And we need to do even MORE. This hurts me because although there is colorism out there, there are also respectful and supporting people who want to do more and more. I hope more people saw that too. Anyways, my family and I will continue fighting strong for this movement. Because BLACK LIVES MATTER. THEY SURELY DO.” – mid.nicole

Hold others accountable

“By holding people accountable. By talking about privilege even if it makes people uncomfortable! Becoming part of the conversation because if you don’t and look the other way you are part of the problem. Make people uncomfortable! Make people realize that our system needs to be redone so justice can be served for our fallen brothers. Being black, being of color shouldn’t be a death sentence.” – koayafilm

Connect with others

“We are each other’s hope 🙏🏽 sharing on your story is great, but never forget the power of human connection. talk to people, have these conversations & hear the pain, empathy & hope in our voices.”- raquelmariaquintana

Educate ourselves and our families

“We show solidarity! There’s still so much racism within our own Latino community over darker skin color. I know because my abuela was Afro Latina.Things need to change. We need to educate our own families about racism. We need to sign petitions, donating, having conversations. I see many people quiet about what’s going on.” – angieusc7

Keep certain words out of your mouth

“Well we could start by abolishing the expressions “negro” y “negra” as a form of endearment to call for someone of dark complexion. I know some will say it’s a form of endearment, but it just degrades the person called upon by only identifying them by their skin colour. You are calling them by their complexion and therefore reducing a whole persons existence and achievements by the colour of their skin.” –christian.aaby

Hold your family accountable

“We have to stand up for each other especially during these times. I’m confronting my own family members who are getting away from the truth. We have to stand up for what we believe not speak negatively about what the reactions are.” – jenmarasc

Create posters for protests

“Creating posters to take to my local police department this Sunday to protest. Signed petition, called the DA, sent cards to the mayor and DA in support of their efforts and demanding criminalization!!! We need to speak louder. Getting involved in my community to provide breath work and yoga to the black community I live in!!” – mexicanameg