The fired Orange County Labor Federation Executive Director Julio Perez made a number of mistakes leading to his dismissal. The first was his alledged sexual harassment and retaliation against a female employee as documented in the OCLF investigation o when he was suspended, he knew what he had done. He was asked to turn in his laptop and tablet and wiped both to factory settings, which gave the investigator a tip there was certainly something there (note to the OCLF: hire a forensic security specialist who can drill down to the server level IP addresses accessed by Julio Perez if you really need the evidence; that doesn’t go away.
Julio had to know he was going to lose, but stayed in the game anyway (praying for a miracle?). He should have negotiated a quiet resignation to “pursue other opportunities” or to open his own political consulting firm (where he could sexually harass anyone without a master to answer to). But instead, Julio used his protections as a union employee t fight the charges against him and lost. He’s been fired. Our sources say he gets no severance, only unpaid vacation time and access to his pension if he needs it. Good luck finding the next job.
Julio could have quietly admitted to the abuse, offered a resignation and secured a non-disparagement clause in his separate agreement which might have allowed him to be hired someone else. As he did none of that, he wears the badge of shame he deserves. Perhaps there’s a job as a porn movie critic awaiting him. He handled this as bad as anyone could have handled it.
We have reached out to those who lead the #metoo movement in Orange County. Anahiem mayoral candidate Lorri Galloway chimed in with this statement:
“Jennifer Beuthin and the Orange County Labor Federation delegates, through their action of firing Julio Perez, executive director of OCLF, have given hope to women and girls who have been victimized by sexual harassment and sexual violence. For far too long, this vile behavior by perpetrators has been tolerated and ignored by people in power who have had the authority to stop it, but instead do nothing . #MeToo and its supporters are changing the world for the better.”
Lorri Galloway, Executive Director, The Eli Home for Abused Children
No word yet from Danielle Sebrin or Kim Nguyen.
But let me take it back to Danielle for a minute and the abuse she suffered at the hands of OJ blogger Greg Diamond who refused to believe those accusing Perez of misconduct, and identified her employer and suggested people “not contact her employer” even though that was the implied message of this post. This is a guy who challenged the DPOC’s e-board approved policies on sexual harassment at the January meeting and as he did, the eyeballs of women around me rolled back in their heads. Why was this so hard? I believe it’s because Diamond routinely dismisses the opinions of women. That’s just my opinion. One DPOC central committee member suggested she file a complaint against him for wasting her time and I said “don’t…it will go on for another half-hour if you do.” Northeast corner of the room Greg; I didn’t take names.
From Diamond’s post, absent the evidence revealed in the hearing, these gems:
*the word “Porn” is sometimes used in a metaphorical rather than literal sense*. Certain cooking shows or movies are sometimes described as “food porn”; some money flaunting/investment shows are “wealth porn.” What IS this metaphorical usage? It means roughly “something designed to appeal to the watcher’s animalistic instincts for gratification.”
What CDs might Julio have had in his office that he might call “porn”? How about anti-union videos produced by union-busting firms (at least some of which are in OC) to convince workers to reject unionization efforts by presenting them “enhanced” facts designed to appeal to their greed and (who knows, I don’t watch that stuff) perhaps an enjoyable angry sense of superiority. In other words, “porn” would be a *negatively* coded term there , for “this is something bad produced by bad people, so I may want you to watch it to see what we’re fighting against, but I’m warning you about it so you don’t get ‘turned on’ by it.”
If Danielle Serbin now devotes her efforts to uncovering sexual misconduct going back as many years at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher – the conservative Republican union-busting law firm at which she is an associate – I’ll be far more impressed and her bravery. Getting the whole real history on OCYD’s past would also be admirable. Otherwise we’re picking and choosing.
OCLF is proceeding the correct way, with an outside (confidential) attorney investigation and her request should be heeded. Chumley, by contrast, is simply being a thug and trying to “play the ref” to make sure that OCLF gets rid of Perez, because that’s what the people who tickle his belly want from him. (Another metaphor there.) With that “there are many that doubt,” Chumley sounds like Fox News, in which he has invested. There are many who think that Chumley is a Republican plant, but that’s no proof. As I’ve mentioned above, if this was simply Julio’s dry and wry humor at work, his bosses on the Board would have been entirely appropriate to tell him to cut it out, because not everyone gets that sort of thing. Is this good cause (which probably wasn’t needed) for firing him, if it was misunderstood wit? That seems really unlikely — not when someone’s so good at his job and a recognized advocate of women’s rights.
As for the clumsy swipe at me: again, I’ve never claimed to have the answers — but I know that if there are benign explanations for ambiguous actions, you had better be able to show that those explanations are unlikely if you want the charge to stick. That goes for lawyers, police, journalists, whistleblowers — and even large aquatic mammals intent on destruction.
The investigation by OCLF was far worse than anything Diamond excused. Sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact and retaliation — he dismissed all of it by putting Perez first and the victims second.
When is learned of Perez’s firing, nearly 24 hours after it happened, Diamond wrote this as a comment on the OJ blog:
I’m sorry that he apparently did these various things of which he was accused. (I am interested in his version of the events, which I presume is discrepant from that of the OCLF based on his being fired rather than having quietly resigned, but if he thinks that he’s been railroaded he can find good representation.)
I[m (sic) not sorry for my not having prejudged him based on the available evidence. (Editor’s note: try asking your step-daughters or wife what they thought)
I suppose that I shouldn’t be sorry at these words celebrating Julio’s demise:
Andrew McKercher, lead organizer with IBEW Local 569 in San Diego, soon after the delegate vote confirmed Perez’s firing in a Facebook post. “Bye Bye Julio Perez of UFCW 324 / OC Labor Federation!” McKercher wrote. “After months of administrative leave and a thorough investigation, OC Labor Federation terminated Julio amongst sexual harassment allegations. #cleaninghouse.”
Instead, I choose by be inspired by the #cleaninghouse tag. If anyone thinks that they have a case of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation against any of the unions comprising the OC Labor Fed — and heck, in McKercher’s honor I’ll throw in IBEW Local 569 in San Diego — I will be happy to evaluate their case for free. (editor’s note: because hiring a lawyer with a recent stroke is always a path to victory)
I expect that the Building Trades especially will appreciate my offer of help with their #cleaninghouse. You can contact me via mail2greg4-bernie at yahoo dot com. (editor’s note; it’s been 2 years; Bernie lost…let it go) (I’ll make this its own post at some point — but not yet, because it would be unseemly.)
Diamond is still dismissive of Perez’s actions by suggesting he had been railroaded. Cowardly at best.
Nelson chimes in to the debate on comments on the OJ blog and AnaheimBlog:
Well, like I said, I think it’s weird that so many people, mostly anonymous peckerwoods, have been bugging me and Greg to make SOME kinda statement, ANY kinda statement, about the allegations against Julio, BEFORE AN INVESTIGATION WAS EVEN COMPLETED. I mean, who jumps to conclusions about a person like that?
Now that it’s been done, and we can reasonably assume that the allegations were true, I can safely say that it was wrong to take sexual advantage of a position of power as he did. I hope that this sort of behavior soon becomes the mythology of a distant past, and applaud the victims who came forward to put a stop to it.
It’s an extra shame that the guy who did this was, politically, a progressive powerhouse who will be missed in the public arena. Why were Dan Chmielewski and his shabby nameless entourage so obsessed with the Julio allegations, more than any others? They have hated him since at least 2012, when he was the progressive candidate against their dear corporatist Tom Daly, for Santa Ana’s assembly district.
At the time, “enterprise zones” were one of the big campaign issues. Tom, obedient in all things to Disney, spoke in hushed reverent tones of the program; while labor progressive Julio fiercely opposed them. Even though Tom (mostly thanks to the multiple manipulations of his predecessor Solorio) won the election, he lost that war – Governor Brown and most of the legislature quickly came to admit that Julio was right and Enterprise Zones were a scam that helped nobody but economic giants like Disney and the Honda Center… and they were kicked to the curb! http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2012/04/a-natural-fit-tom-daly-backed-by-anaheims-coddled-hotel-industry/
The slightly more articulate Cunningham’s eulogy makes us miss and appreciate Julio more, and regret his personal failings. Pontificates the Wordsmith, “Perez is a leftist firebrand whose politics tended to blur the lines between being a union leader and a community organizer.” Oh, you say that like it’s a bad thing!
Wrapping up in the manner of someone who thinks any union would ever look to him for advice, Matt concludes, “Whomever [sic] is hired to replace Perez as executive director will say a lot about the director of the Orange County Labor Federation and whether it sees itself as a vehicle for organizing workers and bargaining on their behalf with employers – or as a platform for advocating for progressive social issues.”
Au contraire, I hope Julio’s replacement will be in his mold, EXCEPT for the taking sexual advantage of a position of authority!
And from Anaheim Blog, this from Nelson: