Jon Hendry, one of the most prominent union and film industry leaders in the state, is no longer president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, an AFL-CIO spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The news comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed last week alleging harassment and discrimination by Hendry toward a former employee, Christa Valdez. On Monday, the lawsuit was amended to add another plaintiff: Madeleine Lauve, also a former employee, who alleges Hendry subjected her to “discriminatory conditions, including an explicit quid pro quo for sex.”
The amended lawsuit includes an accusation of racketeering against Hendry, claiming he allegedly “did smear and undermine the careers of . . . plaintiffs in the industry, unless they consented to his sexual advances and demands.”
Hendry is a business agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 480. According to the lawsuit, Valdez was employed as a public relations representative there for five years; Lauve is described as being an employee of the union for about a year, though the filings did not say in what capacity.
The lawsuit also names IATSE Local 480 as a party “directly and vicariously liable” for Hendry’s alleged behavior.
In response to several requests for comment, Hendry said via an email that he had “been given strict instructions not to comment on anything.”
Trent Howell, the attorney for Valdez and Lauve, declined to comment.
An AFL-CIO spokeswoman said in an email that “Jon Hendry is no longer in the position of NM State Fed President, and the AFL-CIO does not have jurisdiction over internal local union investigations.” She did not respond to a question about whether Hendry resigned or was removed.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that an IATSE executive said over the weekend that an investigation had been opened into the allegations against Hendry. Asked to confirm the existence of the investigation, local union leaders directed the Journal to the union’s attorney, Robert Giolito, who declined to comment.
The Journal has obtained an email, signed by six union members and sent out to the membership, that asks the community to speak out against “abuse of power and harassment in our industry.” The email was sent a few days after Valdez filed her lawsuit.
Among the accusations made by Valdez in court filings last week: that Hendry targeted her with “sexual propositions and inappropriate conditions to maintain employment;” that Valdez’s employment was terminated in part because she rejected Hendry’s alleged advances; that the local IATSE chapter was aware of complaints about Hendry’s alleged behavior but still kept him in his position; and that Hendry tried to block her from other employment after her termination.