“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,” AFL-CIO spokesperson Michelle Blau told Deadline in an email. “Hope that clarifies your request. I have passed your contact information onto IATSE.”
Hendry declined comment. “You can keep calling,” he told Deadline, “but it’s going to be the same answer.”
Long one of the most powerful labor leaders in the state, Hendry could also soon be shown the door at Local 480, as well. Its executive board is scheduled to meet Sunday, when a motion will be made to remove him from the office he’s held for more than 17 years.
Hendry has faced a firestorm of criticism – and calls for his ouster – ever since Christa Valdez, the local’s former outside public relations rep, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him last week. She claims that he sent her a text in 2016 that said, “Could you send me a pic of your naked, sweaty, skinny body? At least one of us will feel much better.” The suit also claims that he “continually harassed and intimidated (her) with sexual propositions and inappropriate conditions to maintain employment,” and that he grabbed her and other female staffers by the buttocks and showed her and others “naked photos on his phone.”
Valdez’s suit also accused Hendry of “bragging frequently about how he ruined careers of people in the industry who crossed him,” and alleges that that’s just what he did to her when she complained: firing her and then, when she got a new job at a local casting company, got her fired there, too.
Since Valdez stepped forward, a grassroots effort called “480 Time for Change” has been formed to encourage the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees to look into the charges against him.
“Stories are told about abuse of power, discrimination, sexual abuse, harassment, verbal abuse, bulling, unresolved grievances, job loss due to whistle-blowing, etc. in the workplace,” the organization said in a statement signed by six members of the local. “Fear of reprisal prevents many people from sharing these stories.”