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!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

AOC Is Calling On Democrats To Hold No Punches In Response To Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation

Things That Matter

AOC Is Calling On Democrats To Hold No Punches In Response To Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation

Tom Brenner-Pool / Getty Images

It’s official. Amy Coney Barrett, the judge who is opposed to marriage equality and the Affordable Care Act, is a Supreme Court justice. Barrett has two years of experience as a judge and her confirmation to the Supreme Court has renewed the fight by Democrats, especially AOC.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is ready to fight after the latest Supreme Court confirmation.

Amy Coney Barrett is President Trump’s third Supreme Court appointee and her confirmation has reenergized Democratic politicians. Rep. AOC used the confirmation to call for the Democrats to step up and fight like Republicans.

During President Obama’s last year, the Republican-led Senate refused to hold hearings for his appointee Merrick Garland 8 months before the election. Sen. Mitch McConnell at the time claimed it was inappropriate to hold a hearing during President Obama’s last year. Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation was rushed through with only 8 days till an election.

Barrett’s confirmation is energizing Democratic voters and what they want to see from a Democratic-controlled government.

Democratic voters have long been calling for politicians to pushback against the Republican Party. A common sentiment among the voters is that the Democrats in power have not been forceful enough on behalf of the voters. Rep. AOC is a politician elected to power in the name of that frustration.

An argument has been made to change the court by following past precedent.

Democratic candidates and politicians are calling the Republican Party’s move to confirm Barrett a sham. The argument used is that millions of American have already voted and the confirmation should have been held until the election. Democrats claim that if President Trump loses then Barrett’s confirmation goes against the will of the American voters.

Voters are hoping for a more vocal Democratic Party.

There is one week before the election and millions of people have already voted. Millions more will vote before Nov. 3 and both parties are doing everything in their power to win the election. Democrats saw a historic surge in donations after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death through ActBlue. It is clear that the Democratic Party is motivated but will it translate into votes.

READ: Several Republicans And White House Officials Test Positive For Covid After Amy Coney Barrett Event

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Black Eyed Peas With Jennifer Hudson Redo Lyrics Of ‘Where Is The Love’ For Powerful Biden Ad

Entertainment

Black Eyed Peas With Jennifer Hudson Redo Lyrics Of ‘Where Is The Love’ For Powerful Biden Ad

Black Eyed Peas / YouTube

There are seven days left until the 2020 presidential elections. Democrats and Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure that their party wins. The Black Eyed Peas and Jennifer Hudson joined the fight for a Biden/Harris administration with a powerful ad.

The Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson, and Joe Biden are appealing to the love of the American people.

The Black Eyed Peas with Jennifer Hudson reworked the lyrics to the groups mega hit “Where Is The Love” to appeal to the American voters. The video starts with Joe Biden quoting the late civil rights activist Ella Baker saying, “Give people light and they will find the way.”

Biden’s ad is a final push to appeal to the American voters’ compassion and love. Images of protesters fighting against police brutality and white supremacy stand alongside the white supremacists marching with torches. The stark realities of two Americas is shocking as people from all walks of life hold up hearts with their hands to appeal to voters.

The ad is resonating with voters who are desperate for a hopeful message from the White House.

Fear and hate have dominated the past four years. Marginalized communities have lost rights and progress under the Trump administration. The administration has apologized for white supremacists while underplaying the danger it poses to the U.S. The FBI has named white supremacy the biggest domestic terror threat in the U.S. yet the Trump administration has done little to limit it. During the first presidential debate, President Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy and he was not able to do so.

For Biden, the election is a referendum on what kind of nation we want moving forward.

People are excited to see this collaboration. It is tugging at everyone’s heartstrings. Hate crimes have increased significantly under the Trump administration and police brutality has become more visible. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor highlighted the need to better train our police forces and change policing in the U.S. Americans took to the streets for months protesting the disproportionate share of local and state budgets allocated to police departments.

People are focusing on the issues on the ballot.

The Democratic Party is highlighting the issues represented on the ballot this election. From immigration to healthcare to democracy, the argument from the Democratic Party is that this election is the most consequential election of our lifetime. Furthermore, the Democratic Party and the Biden/Harris campaign argue that the soul and spirit of our nation are on the ballot.

Don’t forget to vote on Nov. 3 or send in your mail-in ballot in time to make sure that your vote and voice are heard.

READ: Joe Biden Walks Away With Final Presidential Debate On Healthcare, Covid, And Many Issues

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com