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Six UAW Locals Urge Direct Elections of Union Officials

December 22, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

DETROIT, Mich.—Six United Auto Workers locals have passed resolutions calling for the union to hold a special national convention to change its rules so top-level officials are elected directly by members. Under Article 8 of the union’s constitution, members can get such a convention if the call is approved by 15 locals that represent at least 20% of its roughly 400,000 members and come from at least five states. The six that have passed resolutions—Locals 774 and 259 from New York, Local 1853 in Tennessee, Local 838 in Iowa, Local 167 in Michigan, and Local 1981, the National Writers Union—represent about 10,000 members. Supporters of direct elections say the UAW’s recent corruption scandal happened in part because one faction, the Administration Caucus, has controlled its leadership for several decades. “If we’re going to clean up the union, then the membership needs to have a voice in who we elect to represent us,” Ray Jensen of Local 774 in Buffalo told Labor Notes, “and that will happen through one member, one vote.” Most U.S. unions elect leaders through conventions, but the Steelworkers, Machinists, Teamsters, and SAG-AFTRA elect them directly. Read more

December 22, 2019

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