“Unity of mind and spirit makes us all stronger. Move with clarity of purpose and stay strong. Sí se puede.”
These were the words spoken by veteran actor and activist Edward James Olmos after the historic vote to unionize by Telemundo telenovela performers. Telemundo, owned by NBCUniversal as of 2001, employs the largest number of Spanish-language talent for the telenovelas it has been producing for nearly 30 years. Telemundo has produced iconic telenovelas such as La Reina del Sur that made Kate del Castillo a household name, Alguien Te Mira, and a fan favorite Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso (Without Breasts There is No Paradise).
Currently the network produces more than 100 telenovelas a year employing some 500 performers.
Specifically, the network employs actors, dancers, singers and stunt people that will now be represented by the Screen Actors Guild –American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).
SAG-AFTRA called the election “a momentous step toward ending the double standard that has existed for decades between Spanish-speaking performers at Telemundo and their English-speaking colleagues at NBC.”
While the Telemundo talent was elated, Telemundo – not so much – stating they “were disappointed with this result.” The network has been accused of having one standard for its NBC talent (the Gringos) and another for its Spanish-speaking talent.
Telemundo/NBC has been accused by its telenovela talent of unfair compensation and lack of basic health care benefits routinely offered to the English-speaking talent. Now when actors come to their NBC jefe for pay, residuals, benefits, it will be represented by the union.
Telemundo actors earn half of what their English-speaking counterparts on soap operas, prime-time English language actors typically make $933/day versus $180-to-$300 a day for Telemundo talent.
The secret ballet voting began on February 7 and ended March 8, 2017. The vote came in 91 for and 21 against union representation.
HSN Staff Writers
HSN staff writers are a group of enthusiastic and talented creative-types that generate great story lines and write about current events with a distinctively Latino voice always respecting the audience it writes for.