A Los Angeles union boss who hosted a meeting that featured racist comments from the city council president resigned Monday amid backlash after an audio recording of the conversation was leaked to the press.
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera participated in the closed-door October 2021 redistricting conversation with councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo in October 2021, according to The Los Angeles Times, which published a secretly recorded tape of the exchange Sunday.
The meeting took place at a labor federation office and was “illegally” recorded as part of a “serious security and privacy breach,” the alliance told its affiliates, according to the paper.
The officials were discussing how to maintain political power in the city’s Latino communities when Martinez reportedly called the black son of white colleague Mike Bonin a “little monkey” in Spanish and referred to her fellow Democrat — who is gay — as a “little b—h,” while offering to give his adopted son a “beatdown.”
Martinez also mocked the appearance of Koreatown residents that hailed from the Mexican state of Oaxaca and used profanity to describe how District Attorney George Gascón was “with the blacks” politically, the outlet reported.
Herrera was not heard making offensive remarks but was put on administrative leave from his post leading a coalition of some 300 labor groups, after officials and other labor leaders called for everyone involved to resign.
He reportedly offered to step down during a meeting with the federation’s executive board Monday night. The board accepted his resignation and was set to make a formal announcement Tuesday, the outlet reported.
“We are focused on rebuilding solidarity and trust in the worker movement,” Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, head of the California Labor Federation reportedly said.
The shakeup came after Martinez resigned from her post as the council’s first Latino president Monday. She would not give up her seat in the legislative body, according to a statement. León and Cedillo had remained in the council amid widespread calls for them to step down.
Herrera was reportedly pressured to resign by eight hospitality unions that called for his dismissal in a joint statement Monday morning. His fate was sealed when his local Teamsters union amplified that demand before his meeting with the board, according to the outlet.
“I want to be absolutely clear: Racism has no place in the labor movement and will not be tolerated. I was appalled to learn that deeply disturbing racist, and incredibly hurtful comments were made in a meeting held at the LA County Federation of Labor last year,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler tweeted in a Sunday statement.
With Post wires