Labor Federation says leaked audio ‘unlawful’ will investigate

The leaked audio of then-Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez privately making racist remarks was part of a “serious breach of security and privacy” at LA County Federation of Labor offices that involved “illegal” recordings of “numerous private and confidential conversations in private offices and conference rooms,” the federation said Sunday in an email, according to a text provided to The Times.

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

The league’s internal messages raise questions about how many more secret tapes of top LA power brokers may exist or become public.

That leaked sound involved Martinez, fellow council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and labor union president Ron Herrera. Martinez, who resigned as chairman of the council on Monday, is heard making racist statements and disparaging other politicians.

Her remarks were made during an October 2021 meeting at the federation’s offices where the group discussed the city’s redistricting process.

In its message to affiliates sent on Herrera’s behalf, the federation said it had been successful in removing audio clips posted on Reddit and getting the anonymous user suspended, and said it planned to investigate and ” ensure that these crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

It asked anyone with information to contact the union’s chief of staff, Wesson.

Wesson is the son of former councilman Herb Wesson and the husband of Martinez’s chief of staff, Alexis Wesson.

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

In The Times’ initial story about Martinez’s remarks with the other executives, the union attacked the paper’s decision to publish the leak and did not condemn the content of the conversations, an approach that drew criticism from some labor activists.

After the International AFL-CIO and the California Labor Federation condemned the racist remarks, Herrera publicly apologized Sunday night for “my failure to stand up to racist and anti-black remarks in the immediate moment.” Some local labor leaders have since called on Herrera to resign.

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