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United Auto Workers Union replaces leadership

Members of the United Auto Workers Union appeared Thursday to support replacing many of the current leaders in an election sparked by a federal bribery and embezzlement scandal involving former union officials. .

A member of many UAW Members United, the reform-minded candidate is leading or close in several important races, receiving around 68% of the vote. Many challengers have campaigned to withdraw concessions given to companies in previous contract negotiations. This includes cost of living raises, the abolition of the two-tier wage and benefits system, and other items.

That could drive up costs for Detroit’s trio of automakers (General Motors, Ford and Stellantis), almost inevitably driving up already expensive car prices.

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In a tally from six of the UAW’s nine regions, incumbent President Ray Curry narrowly leads international union official Sean Fain, who started the race for five candidates at the Stellantis plant in Kokomo, Indiana. was doing.

Curry got 38.6% of the vote, while Fain was second with 38%. Neither of them received a majority of the votes, so it’s likely that there will be a runoff vote between Fain and Curry early next year.

In the race for three vice presidents, Rich Boyer and Mike Booth, both Members United nominees, were first and second out of eight candidates, and incumbent Chuck followed by Browning. Spills can occur there too.

Members United secretary and treasurer candidate Margaret Mock won 62.6% of the vote, leading incumbent Frank Staglin with 37.4%. Where the tally was completed, the union reform candidate won three of her nine regional director positions, leaving her one on the runoff ballot.

It was not clear when the counting of votes would end. Ballots are counted by companies hired by court-appointed monitors who oversee elections and unions.

UAW representatives march at the 2019 Labor Day Parade in Detroit.

UAW representatives march at the 2019 Labor Day Parade in Detroit.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancia, File)

Fine led a ticket for Members United to reform the UAW, which has 372,000 members, after the scandal. The election will also have wide-ranging implications for contract negotiations with Detroit automakers that begin next year.

Fain argued for a more confrontational stance and accused union leaders of complacency. He says the UAW has his 40-year philosophy of seeing automakers as partners, not enemies.

He said it was too early to declare a winner, but said in an interview Thursday that the total number of early votes “is sending a loud and clear message to businesses and companies to be ready, we I’m here for you,” he said.

Automakers are making record profits but closing factories and sacrificing union jobs, he said. He said General Motors had lost 3,000 workers, citing a shortage of new cars at its Belvidere, Illinois plant, as well as General Motors’ closure of its Rosetown, Ohio assembly plant in 2019. .

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Fain said at a candidate forum in September that union leaders should have withdrawn their concessions since 2007 and won job guarantees.

“We had perfect conditions for at least a decade to recover and improve what was lost in the Great Recession,” he said.

Contract negotiations come at a critical time for unions facing the transition from internal combustion engines to battery-powered vehicles. With fewer moving parts, fewer people are needed to build electric vehicles, and the job of building engines and transmissions could be moved to ununionized battery assembly plants.

The elections came after union members decided last December to vote directly for their leaders for the first time, rather than having them elected by delegates to the convention.

In the old system, convention delegates were selected by the local union office. However, new officers were chosen by the current leadership and rarely faced serious opposition.

The company that monitor Neil Barofsky hired mailed about a million ballots to current and retired union members. However, only about 10.7% of his 106,790 cases were returned.

The vote came after 11 union officers and spouses of deceased officers pleaded guilty to corruption probes dating back to 2017, including two former presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. was sentenced.

To avoid a federal takeover, the union agreed to reforms, with Barovski agreeing to oversee the election of a 14-member executive committee.

Curry, who has been appointed to lead the union to replace retired Rory Gamble in 2021, said it was implementing financial safeguards and reforms and had plans to “put union members back in better times.” rice field. He said at a candidate forum that the union also plans to recruit new members.


“We don’t just make false demands or convey false hopes,” he said.

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