Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, resigned Monday night in the face of outrage over the controversial leaked recording, and the group’s remaining leaders on Tuesday demanded that three city council members involved in the scandal also submit their resignations.
“Racism of any kind has no place in Labour. Those elected to fight for our communities of colour will post disgusting and vile anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Asian and anti-Oaxaca The rhetoric that pits our work community against each other is unconscionable. These sentiments will not be tolerated by our organization or by those we represent,” Tom Davis, chairman of the federation’s executive committee, said in a statement.
“The LA County Federation of Labor Executive Committee also calls on the elected officials present to follow President Herrera’s example and resign immediately,” Davis said after a Monday night meeting.
The federation of 800,000 workers representing 300 unions has been at the center of a crisis that has shaken Los Angeles’ political leadership over the past two days.
Herrera joined Los Angeles City Councilmen Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo for a closed-door conversation at the federation’s offices in October 2021, where Martinez said a white councilman treated his young black son as if he were a ” accessory” and described MP Mike Bonin’s son as “Parece changuito,” or “like a monkey”.
Other racist and derogatory remarks were made during the conversation, mostly centered on the city’s decennial redistricting process and the preservation and preservation of Latino political power.
The conversation remained private for about a year before it burst into public view on Sunday after being reported by The Times. The leaked audio was originally posted on Reddit.
The Labour Federation said in an email to affiliates on Sunday that the leaked audio was part of a “serious security and privacy breach” at its offices involving “illegal” recordings of “many private and confidential conversations in private offices and conference rooms.” . Text provided to The Times.
Aside from the initial attack on The Times for publishing the leak, the federation has not publicly identified the source of the recording.
Herrera’s resignation comes after calls for Martinez, De León and Cedillo to step down from city council and Herrera’s departure from her leadership role in one of the country’s most powerful and influential labor organizations snowballed. Martinez, a former city council president, announced her resignation from the leadership on Monday morning and said on Tuesday that she would be taking a leave of absence from the city council.
On Monday, support for Herrera’s withdrawal spread widely among the labor movement, including the leaders of the eight SEIU California unions that are members of the Los Angeles area, Unite Teachers Los Angeles, Unite Here Local 11 and California Nurses Assn.
Herrera’s hometown of Teamsters Local 396 joined a number of Teamsters locals in calling for Herrera to resign from his federation post shortly before Monday night’s meeting.
“We are a movement of large organizations and entrenched processes,” Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, president of the California Federation of Labor, said in a tweet Monday night. “However, we are ultimately prioritizing working-class unity of all racial groups. Now is the time for our labor movement to come together and start working towards healing.”
“We will gather all the facts, but the hate speech reported at that meeting is inexcusable,” AFL-CIO chairman Liz Shuler said in a statement on Sunday.
“We cannot begin the recovery process until we take responsibility,” Gonzalez Fletcher wrote. “We still have a lot of work to do to ensure the labor movement is a place where all workers can come together and fight together.”
Times staff writer Julia Wick contributed to this report.