Labor federation says leaked audio ‘illegal,’ will investigate

The leaked audio of then-Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez privately making racist remarks was part of a “serious security and privacy breach” at the offices of the LA County Federation of Labor that revealed “illegal” records of “many private and confidential talks in private offices and conference rooms,” the association told affiliates in an email on Sunday, according to text provided to The Times.

Union spokesman Justin Wesson did not respond to multiple messages Monday seeking comment on the memo, which is circulating among labor activists and leaders in Los Angeles angry at the union’s involvement in the scandal.

The federation’s internal news raises questions about how many more secret records of top LA power brokers exist or could be released.

Involved in the leaked audio were Martinez, fellow councilors Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and Confederation of Labor President Ron Herrera. Martinez, who resigned as council leader on Monday, can be heard making racist remarks and denigrating other politicians.

Her comments were made during an October 2021 meeting at the association’s offices, where the group discussed the process of redistributing the city.

In its message to affiliates, sent on Herrera’s behalf, the association said it had managed to remove audio clips posted on Reddit and banned the anonymous user, and that it planned to investigate and “ensure that these Crimes shall be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.

She asked anyone with information to contact Federation Chief of Staff Wesson.

Wesson is the son of former Councilman Herb Wesson and the husband of Martinez Chief of Staff Alexis Wesson.

The message was addressed to “members” but was not widely disseminated within the federation, which claims to have 300 affiliated unions and workers’ organizations representing more than 800,000 members. The message did not describe or criticize the content of the leaked audio.

In the Times’ first story on Martinez’s remarks with the other leaders, the association attacked the newspaper’s decision to publish the leaks and did not condemn the substance of the talks, an approach that drew criticism from some union activists.

After the international AFL-CIO and the California Labor Federation condemned the racist remarks, Herrera publicly apologized Sunday night for “my failure to speak out against racist and anti-Black speech in this immediate moment.” Some local union leaders have since called for Herrera to resign. Labor federation says leaked audio ‘illegal,’ will investigate

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