LA Labor Leader Ron Herrera resigns; Alliance joins, urges MPs to resign

Faced with outrage over the controversial leaked audio recordings, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor chairman Ron Herrera resigned Monday night, while the rest of the organization’s leaders were a city councilman implicated in Tuesday’s scandal. He also demanded the resignation of three people. “Racism in any form has no place in the Labor Party. It is unconscionable for those elected to fight for our communities of color to engage in hateful, vile anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Asian, anti-Oaxaca remarks that make our working communities hostile to each other. Neither our organization nor the people we represent will tolerate these feelings,” said Thom Davis, Chairman of the Federation Executive Board in a statement. “The Los Angeles County Labor Confederation Executive Board also urges the elected officials present to resign immediately, following President Herrera’s example,” Davis said after Monday night’s meeting. The unions have been at the epicenter of a crisis that has shaken Los Angeles’ political leadership over the past two days. Herrera joined Los Angeles City Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de León, and Gil Cedillo in a private conversation at the Federation Office in October 2021. Martinez said a white city councilor treated his young black son like an “accessory.” And he described Congressman Mike Bonin’s son as “Parece changuito” or “like a monkey.” Other racist and derogatory remarks were made during the conversation, mainly focusing on the city’s once-decade redistricting process and the preservation and maintenance of Latino political power. The conversation remained private for about a year after it was reported by The Times before being released on Sunday. The leaked audio was originally posted on Reddit. The Labor Federation described leaked audio in an email sent to affiliates on Sunday as part of a “serious security and privacy breach” in offices involving “illegal” recording of “many confidential private conversations in private offices and conference rooms.” The text federated to The Times Federation did not publicly mention the source of the recording, except that it initially attacked The Times and posted the leak. Herrera’s resignation comes after a snowballing call for Martinez, De León and Cedillo to step down from city council and for Herrera to leave her post as head of one of America’s most powerful and influential labor organizations. Martinez, who was chairman of the city council, resigned his leadership position on Monday morning and announced he would take a leave of absence from the city council on Tuesday. Support for Herrera’s withdrawal spread widely throughout the labor movement on Monday. This includes 8 SEIU California union leaders with Los Angeles Area Members, United Teachers Los Angeles, Unite Here Local 11, and California Nurses Assn. Just before Monday night’s meeting, Herrera’s home local Teamsters Local 396 joined several Teamsters locals demanding Herrera resign from her federation position. “We are a movement of large organizations and deeply ingrained processes,” said Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, president of the separate California Labor Federation. She said in a tweet she tweeted from the local federation on Monday night. “But ultimately, we prioritize working-class solidarity across all racial groups above all else. Now is the time for our labor movement to unite and begin their struggle for healing.” AFL-CIO President Liz Schuler said in a statement Sunday that “we will gather all the facts, but the hate speech reported at the meeting is not excusable.” .” “You cannot begin the healing process until you have a sense of responsibility,” wrote Gonzalez Fletcher. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to make the labor movement a place where all workers can unite in our common struggle.” Times reporter Julia Wick contributed to this report.
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