March 8 (Reuters) - U.S.-based Spanish-language actors and other performers at Telemundo Television Studios LLC have voted for the first time to form a union, which many of them say is necessary to address inequities between them and English-speaking actors.
The Telemundo performers voted 91-21 in favor of joining SAG-AFTRA, the 160,000-member union for U.S. film and television actors, according to results released by the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Miami-based Telemundo, a unit of NBCUniversal Media LLC, said the network was disappointed but would “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.”
SAG-AFTRA did not immediately have comment.
Joining the union will allow Telemundo actors, along with singers, dancers and stunt people, to bargain with the network for health insurance, residual payments and other benefits that are routine at English-language television networks.
Telemundo produces three or four soap operas, known as telenovelas, in the United States each year, employing about 500 people primarily in the Miami area, according to the network. (Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Alistair Bell)