A second woman has come forward with allegations that Jon Hendry, the boss of IATSE Local 480 in Santa Fe, NM, sexually harassed her. Hendry, who until recently was one of the most powerful labor leaders in the state, was ousted as president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor AFL-CIO on Monday after Christa Valdez, the local’s former outside public relations rep, sued him last week for sexual harassment.
Madeleine Lauve now has joined Valdez in her lawsuit. In an amended complaint (read it here), they are suing Hendry, Local 480 and its parent union — the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — claiming that they engaged in “a pattern of racketeering activity” to keep them silent and allow Hendry to remain in a position of power and to continue harassing women.
Lauve’s complaint states that she was an employee of the local from 2013 to 2014 and that she was also attempting to establish membership in the local. “During this period, Hendry subjected Ms. Lauve to discriminatory conditions, including an explicit quid pro quo for sex, to maintain and to improve her employment and to qualify for and be admitted as a labor organization member of IATSE.”
Her suit says he fired her after she refused to have sex with him anymore. “The work and labor organization environment became hostile and aggressive, and Ms. Lauve was eventually terminated from IATSE Local 480, as well as undermined on a Local 480 craft services assignment, on or about March 21, 2014, as a result of Ms. Lauve having ceased to consent to and begun to oppose Hendry’s quid pro quo.”
Hendry declined comment, as did IATSE.
The suit claims that he “intimidated” and “coerced her consent to sexual advances, and against coming forward and complaining earlier. Throughout her employment, Hendry bragged of how he destroyed careers and lives of people who opposed him. Examples of how he made good on such threats were common knowledge in the workplace and industry. Hendry had phone calls with industry employers in which he undermined hiring of various women by disparaging their fitness for selection and characterizing them as ‘sluts.’”
The new suit adds: “Hendry’s continuation of such pattern and practice in retaliation against Ms. Lauve is the cause of her never being called again for Local 480 work in New Mexico after March 21, 2014, and why she ultimately had to leave New Mexico to find union work. Other IATSE management observed and knew how Hendry exploited his position and female members and employees. But IATSE left him in a place of authority he used and continues to use to retaliate against and blacklist Plaintiffs and, upon information and belief, other women who declined or ceased consenting to his sexual demands.”
Valdez, who is represented by the same attorney, Trent Howell, claims in her suit that Hendry 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.” She 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.”
She 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 other women to speak out and to have Hendry ousted from office. “Stories are told about abuse of power, discrimination, sexual abuse, harassment, verbal abuse, bullying, 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.”
On Sunday the local’s executive board is expected to hear a motion to remove him from office.