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Third woman sues former labor leader, film union

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A third woman has taken legal action against Jon Hendry, claiming the former labor leader sexually harassed her and retaliated when she rejected his advances, among other allegations.
Michelle Labounty said in Santa Fe district court filings that she was employed by Hendry at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees’ New Mexico chapter from 2011 through July 19, 2012. Hendry was until recently the union’s business agent as well as the president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor.
The lawsuit claims Hendry “continually sexually harassed and intimidated Ms. Labounty” through conduct that included patting her buttocks, pressuring her to share a bed with him on a business trip and calling her late at night making heavy breathing noises. She alleges Hendry used his influence to have her blacklisted from the New Mexico film industry after she rejected his advances and resigned from her position, according to the filings.
An attorney for Jon Hendry did not respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit also states Hendry allegedly masked his involvement in a radio advertisement against a candidate for public office by pressuring Labounty to pay for it, and that Hendry had Labounty grocery shop for Phil Griego, the former state senator who is now serving a prison sentence for corruption.
Labounty is seeking general, compensatory and punitive damages as well as compensation for legal costs, and names Hendry, IATSE and the Local 480 chapter as defendants in the lawsuit.
A spokeswoman for IATSE, an attorney for the union’s local chapter and Labounty’s attorney all declined to comment.
Labounty is the third woman to seek legal action against Hendry and the union this year. Christa Valdez filed a lawsuit on March 7 against Hendry, IATSE and IATSE Local 480, alleging she was harassed by Hendry and discriminated against when she rejected his advances; she also claimed the local union was aware of his alleged misconduct against her and other women and did nothing to address the situation. Shortly thereafter, Hendry left his Local 480 and New Mexico Federal of Labor positions. Madeleine Lauve joined the Valdez lawsuit on March 12, claiming Hendry subjected her to “discriminatory conditions, including an explicit quid pro quo for sex.”
Hendry’s attorney has denied his client committed any wrongdoing. In court filings, the local union denied the allegations against it. The international union argued it was not responsible for allegations made against one of its local chapters or the officers of that chapter, and asked the court to remove IATSE as a defendant from the lawsuit.
Filed amid the burgeoning #MeToo movement, the Valdez and Lauve lawsuit attracted national attention and reverberated beyond the state’s film industry. Richard Ellenberg, chairman of the state Democratic Party, abruptly resigned in March after questioning the credibility of Valdez’s claims.