MIAMI — It’s had a bitter history in recent years with performers union SAG-AFTRA at its two FM radio stations in Los Angeles, with accusations that the company engaged in “a series of unfair labor practices” and by November 2019 had failed to comply in part with a settlement agreement.
Now, SAG-AFTRA has been outright decertified at “La Ley 107.9,” the Chicago-market FM owned by Spanish Broadcasting System.
SBS late Thursday (7/1) announced that employees at its WLEY-FM, which airs regional Mexican programming, voted to decertify and remove the union that had previously represented them in dealing with SBS.
That union is SAG-AFTRA, voted in nearly three years to represent “certain on-air talent and production employees” in Chicago.
Since that time, SBS and SAG-AFTRA had been negotiating the terms of an initial collective bargaining agreement. However, no agreement was ever reached.
Employees voted on the decertification question by mail over the past few weeks, and the results of the vote were officially confirmed on June 28 by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the government agency that conducted the vote.
Commenting on the vote, SBS General Counsel Richard Lara said, “We greatly respect the important decision made by our employees to move forward without a union to act as intermediary between them and the company in the resolution of personnel matters at our Chicago facilities. The company looks forward to working more directly with our employees to build an even stronger presence in Chicago.”
The vote comes some 2 1/2 years after SBS sought to resolve two complaints lobbed at SBS’s KLAX and KXOL in Los Angeles on behalf of SAG-AFTRA.
“For over three years, SBS has continuously violated labor laws,” SAG-AFTRA claimed in November 2019. SBS’s alleged violations were set forth in a consolidated complaint, available here.
In Dec. 20, 2017, SAG-AFRTA and SBS reached a settlement valued at roughly half a million dollars. All was fine until May 2019, when SAG-AFTRA called on Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) to extend “fair contracts” to its on-air talent in two key markets.
One was Los Angeles. The other? Chicago.