Facing outrage over a controversial leaked recording of top Los Angeles city officials, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera tendered his resignation at a Monday night meeting of the federation’s executive board, which he accepted, according to two sources close to the situation.
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, head of the California Federation of Labor and former head of the AFL-CIO’s San Diego Labor Council and Imperial Counties, confirmed to the Times that Herrera submitted his resignation to the board. “We are focused on rebuilding solidarity and trust in the labor movement,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the county federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The sources requested anonymity to describe sensitive internal matters. A source said the organization would make an official statement on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, reports surfaced that Herrera had reportedly been “placed on administrative leave pending the Los Angeles Federation of Labor Executive Board meeting this afternoon,” the California Federation of Labor said in a Monday email to the state labor leaders received by The Fores.
Herrera — along with Los Angeles City Council members Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo — participated in a closed-door conversation in October 2021 where Martinez said a white council member manhandled the young black man his son as if he were an “accessory” and described Council member Mike Bonin’s son as “Parece changuito”, or “like a monkey”.
Other racist and derogatory comments were made during the conversation, which focused heavily on the city’s once-a-decade redistricting process and maintaining and preserving Latino political power.
The conversation remained private for about a year before it exploded into public view on Sunday after being reported by The Times. The leaked audio was originally posted on Reddit.
The county federation’s move comes amid growing calls for Herrera to step down from his top labor post, as well as calls for Martinez, De León and Cedillo to step down from the City Council. Martinez, who was the City Council president, announced she was stepping down from her leadership position Monday morning, but remains on the council.
Leaders of eight SEIU California unions with Los Angeles-area members issued a statement Monday morning calling on Martinez, De León and Cedillo to resign their board positions and Herrera to step down. Shortly before Monday night’s meeting, Herrera’s local, Teamsters Local 396, had joined the labor movement’s calls for Herrera to resign from the union post.
The email from state federation leader Gonzalez Fletcher emphasized that the county federation was separate and distinct from the statewide federation.
“We have no authority over the Central Labor Councils – they are chartered independently of the AFL-CIO,” Gonzalez Fletcher said in the message. “We are in contact with the AFL-CIO and the Los Angeles Federation of Labor on this outrageous matter.
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler released a statement Sunday saying “we will gather all the evidence, but the hate speech reported at this meeting is inexcusable.”
“Until we have accountability, we cannot begin the healing process,” Gonzalez Fletcher wrote. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure that the labor movement is a place where ALL workers can all come together in solidarity in our common struggle.”
The Federation of Labor described the leaked audio as part of a “serious breach of security and privacy” at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor offices that includes “illegal” recordings of “numerous private and confidential conversations in private offices and conference rooms.” , in a Sunday email to affiliates, according to the text provided to the Times.
Times staff writer Julia Wick contributed to this report.