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California | Labor & Workers

May Day Sharpens Struggle for Union Democracy: UAW Leaders Flee Vote Count
by AKelly ( awdu.uc [at] gmail.com )
Sunday May 1st, 2011 11:06 AM
The leadership of UAW Local 2865 - the UC graduate student union - has hijacked the election to retain incumbent power. Halfway through the ballot count, it appeared possible that a slate of reformers, Academic Workers for a Democratic Union, would win the election. At 8 pm April 30, the incumbent-controlled election committee abruptly decided to terminate the vote count and announced that the incumbent candidates themselves will decide on how the count should proceed.
The UAW 2865 internal union Elections Committee has been conducting a vote count for a contentious election for the Local's top elected leadership As the count proceeded, it appeared possible that our slate of reformers, Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (http://www.awdu.org) would win the election. Then, at 8 pm Saturday, April 30, the incumbent-controlled Election Committee abruptly decided to terminate the vote count, leaving1500 ballots uncounted -- nearly half the ballots cast.

In a blatant effort to hold on to the power and privileges of their high paying positions, paid union official Daraka Larimore-Hall and his incumbent slate have tried to spin this egregious violation of UAW election procedures. Many of the incumbent candidates are not graduate students, including three of the incumbent candidates for top officer positions. In the vote count, together these candidates stand to lose the hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and benefits they give themselves annually with our dues dollars.

Cheryl Deutsch, AWDU candidate for President, said, “We won't know if AWDU won the election until all the votes are counted, but it's hard to understand why else the current union administration would abandon the vote count without having counted nearly half the ballots cast in the election.”

All but three of the Elections Committee members abandoned all of the election materials in the union's LA conference room, including boxes of more than 1500 uncounted ballots from UCLA and Berkeley union members.

A group of more than 20 UAW 2865 member reformers and three Elections Committee members still present left all materials in the conference room exactly as they were when the Elections Committee abandoned the vote count. The group then locked the conference room to preserve the integrity of the ballots, after photographing and videotaping the room and its contents in detail. UAW 2865 members remain at the LA office to monitor the ballots and ensure they are not tampered with until they can be counted.

AWDU has demanded that our UAW 2865 Elections Committee count every vote and have called on Mr. Larimore Hall and all candidates on his slate to join us in our demand.