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Film union agent resigns after two women file suit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jon Hendry, long one of New Mexico’s most visible labor and film industry figures, has resigned from his position as business agent at one of the largest unions in the state.

Jon Hendry

The move was announced at the Sunday meeting of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 480, according to several attendees and confirmed by a statement provided to the Journal by union leadership.

Hendry is a defendant in a lawsuit filed March 6 by two women, Christa Valdez and Madeleine Lauve, who allege that he harassed and discriminated against them when they worked with the union.

Hendry has referred all questions to the union’s attorney, who declined to comment. The plaintiffs’ attorney could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.

The statement provided to the Journal by union officers Doug Acton and Elizabeth Pecos, describes Hendry’s departure as a “voluntary resignation.”

According to the statement, Acton, previously the chapter’s president, is now interim business agent, and Pecos, formerly the vice president, is now the interim president.

“The Local considers the allegations made in the lawsuit to be very serious and has launched a comprehensive investigation of the plaintiffs’ claims,” the chapter wrote in the statement. “The Local does not condone acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind and strongly condemns such behavior. The Local stands for protecting all employees against such actions.”

Acton and Pecos declined to provide additional comment.

The meeting was held at the Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel to accommodate more than 250 attendees.

The union’s New Mexico chapter had 1,370 members in 2017 according to U.S. Department of Labor filings. Hendry’s salary was reported as $133,360 that year.

The local chapter and the international union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the international union declined to comment.

Hendry also had served as president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor.

Last week, the AFL-CIO confirmed that Hendry no longer held that position, but a spokeswoman did not respond to questions about whether he had resigned or been removed.

The lawsuit against Hendry has shaken more than just the state’s film industry. Last week, Richard Ellenberg, chairman of the state Democratic Party, abruptly resigned after questioning the credibility of Valdez’s claims.

In the statement, Local 480 leaders said they will have “no further comment concerning the litigation out of respect for the court and the judicial process.”

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