IATSE New Mexico Local 480 President Liz Pecos Accused Of Sexual Harassment – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: The former enterprise consultant of IATSE Local 480 in Santa Fe, NM, has accused the native’s president, Liz Pecos, of “unwelcome sexual advances” and of making a “sexually hostile work environment” – allegations that Pecos and the native deny “in the strongest terms possible.”

Stephen Geass, who resigned as enterprise rep on June 30 after solely a month on the job, additionally accused Pecos of misusing union funds for her personal “political and financial gain” – allegations that Pecos and the native additionally “categorically” deny, whereas accusing him of making an attempt to shake down the native for “substantial money” in return for conserving silent about his claims. Pecos, who serves on the manager board of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, was elected co-chair of IATSE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee in November.

It’s the second time in three years {that a} Local 480 chief has been accused of sexual harassment. In 2018, Jon Hendry, the native’s longtime enterprise agent, and president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, was accused of sexually harassing three of the native’s feminine staffers. Hendry resigned because the native’s enterprise agent, and was ousted as president of the state’s Federation of Labor, in March of that 12 months. Two of the lawsuits stemming from these allegations had been settled by the native final summer time.

Geass – who additionally goes by the identify Stephen Benavides – made the allegations towards Pecos on July 2 in what he referred to as his “Report on Business Representative’s Resignation.” He additionally filed a criticism with the Human Rights Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions detailing his sexual harassment allegations. He additionally accused Pecos and Marisa Frantz, the native’s secretary-treasurer, of interfering and prohibiting him from doing his responsibility because the native’s high government officer.

In a press release to Deadline, the native mentioned:

IATSE Local 480 and its President Liz Pecos and Secretary-Treasurer Marisa Frantz have been accused of interference and sex discrimination by Steven (sic) Benavides (Geass), the Local’s recently hired Business Representative. Benavides resigned on June 30, after 30 days on the job. Benavides demanded substantial money from the Local and implied he would publicize his claims if the Union did not concede to his demands. When the Local did not concede, its members and the media were flooded with anonymous emails containing his claims. The Local categorically denies Benavides’ claims in the strongest terms possible. Benavides claims he has filed an inquiry with the New Mexico state civil rights agency. Consistent with its practice in pending legal matters, the Local will have no further public comment.”

In his criticism to the state’s Human Rights Bureau, Benavides claimed:

“On or round June 22, 2021, I used to be invited for drinks after the workday by IATSE Local 480 President Liz Pecos. This was our first assembly after I moved to the state for a brand new place. The assembly place was the Two Fools Tavern situated at 3211Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106. Over drinks there was dialogue of ongoing work, however that dialog was steered in direction of extra private issues associated to my marriage and her latest breakup with a former companion, to incorporate discussing the courting scene and future plans because it pertains to sexual relationships. This dialog was uncomfortable and set the theme for an additional post-work assembly on or round June 25, 2021.

“On or round June 25, 2021, I used to be once more requested to exit and have drinks by President Liz Pecos. Due to my uneasiness in being put on this state of affairs once more, I urged her to ask the Secretary-Treasurer Marisa Frantz. Marisa agreed to fulfill up with us at a bar and restaurant referred to as 423 Vintage situated at 8000 Paseo Del Norte Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87122.

“After two drinks, Marisa Frantz left. Her leaving coincided with a big change within the tone and path of the dialog again in direction of inappropriate topics involving courting life, the small courting pool in New Mexico and dialogue on having youngsters.

“Once the examine was closed, we left collectively and headed in direction of the parking zone. Liz Pecos directed me in direction of her automotive as we walked. Once we had been by the door she moved in in direction of me in an obvious effort to kiss me. I retreated, caught off-guard and mentioned goodnight. I then walked to my automotive and drove dwelling.

“After this unwanted attempted sexual contact, my ability to carry out my duties and responsibilities as an employee of IATSE Local 480 were severely hampered and created a hostile work environment. Based on this incident, the environment created by it and other difficulties in being able to carry out my duties, I decided to resign my employment effective June 30, 2021.”

In his resignation report, he additionally accused Pecos of misusing the native’s funds to advertise her re-election as president.

“As Business Representative, I was required to participate in numerous conversations related directly to the President’s upcoming Local 480 campaign,” he wrote. “These conversations occurred as a regular part of day-to-day business of the union and took place on union property and using union equipment. The content of these conversations included personality profiles on potential opposition candidates, perceived allies and opponents on the Local 480 Executive Board, mentions of active members who were considered ‘dangerous’ and/or ‘unstable’ and a detailed review of posts and comments on a campaign Facebook page, which was gained using a ‘mole.’ This local union campaign work was woven into conversations that touched on the New Mexico Film Office, the tax incentive program, and my efforts to address the ensuing labor shortage.”

He additional claimed that “the use of my paid time as Business Representative of Local 480, in addition to the use of union property and equipment for the express intent to benefit an officer’s union campaign, is a misuse of alliance and membership funds for political and financial gain,” including that “The misuse of alliance funds is prohibited under the IA Constitution. It clearly states that, ‘The funds of this alliance shall not be used for other than its legitimate purposes.’”

He concluded his resignation report by saying that he was “honored and humbled to have been selected by the Local 480 Executive Board and the Local 480 members to operate in the role of Business Representative. It was, or would have been, one of my most valued experiences in my more than twelve years on the front lines of the labor movement. Sadly, due to the reasons laid in this report and other minor reasons not detailed here, that valued experience did not come to pass. It was a severe disappointment to be brought into a position of leadership and then be prohibited from fulfilling that function. It was also eye opening to see prior reformers of a corrupt union begin down their own trail of power consolidation and advocacy of individual agendas, at the expense of a dedicated and hardworking membership. I wish all of you the best of luck in your future endeavors and hope that the union grows stronger and more resilient over time.”

Source Link – deadline.com

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