Notes on the possibility of vote tampering by UAW bureaucrats

We were planning to write a short piece on the UAW 2865 bureaucracy and the real possibility of tampering when the contract ratification votes are counted tonight at UCLA at 10 pm.  However, a close comrade of ours at UCSC beat us to the punch and has posted a fantastic entry on the (G)SOC/AWaDU blog.  Since the post first went up, we received a guarantee that all UAW 2865 members who show up to UCLA tonight to witness the vote counting will be able to do so.  Why this right would not be assured from the get-go is beyond us.  Similarly, the local has finally agreed to reimburse both a no and yes challenger from every campus if they choose to fly to LA tonight.  What else do we want?  As our comrade at Santa Cruz writes,

In light of these concerns, we demand a campus-by-campus tally of the votes tonight so that members can have faith in the results. We also demand that all Elections Committee members have full access to voting rolls and day-by-day turnout figures for every campus.

What does the union bureaucracy have to hide?  The rank-and-file demand transparent and impartial vote counting without a single qualification! If you are a member of 2865 and in the vicinity of UCLA tonight, we urge you to show up at 10 pm to observe the vote counting; we’ll need all the support we can get. It will take place in the UAW 2865 LA office at 900 Hilgard Ave., Suite 311, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

Think we’re dabbling in conspiracy theory?  Read on…

Will the UAW 2865 contract ratification vote be free and fair?

In the final hours of voting on a proposed contract (go vote if you haven’t!), serious concerns have emerged about whether the UAW 2865 contract ratification vote has been administered and will be counted in a free, fair, and transparent manner. We believe that there are probably  enough “no” votes for us to win this election even with a certain amount of fraud and/or tampering on the part of Administration Caucus members. (The Administration Caucus has been the central apparatus of the UAW’s single-party state for over 60 years, and the entire inner circle of UAW 2865 leadership are Administration Caucus members.)

  • There are concerns concerns that votes will be counted in an irregular manner. The chair of the Elections Committee, Fawn Huisman, has refused to share information with the Elections Committee members on other campuses about daily campus turnout figures, despite stipulating before the beginning of the vote that she would do so. When asked the reasons for this change by Elections Committee members and dozens of rank-and-file members, she offered no explanation.
  • This makes it impossible for members of the elections committee to track possible irregularities in campus voting patterns day-by-day.
  • The chair of the Elections Committee, Fawn Huisman, stipulated a procedure in which there would be no count of the votes on each campus; instead, all votes are being sent to the union’s UCLA office to be counted. (The union’s headquarters are in Berkeley, so this choice of location already raises eyebrows.)
  • For every previous union election, votes have been counted on each individual campus and the results sent to statewide headquarters.
  • This is the first seriously contested election in the history of the local, since certification at UC Santa Barbara.
  • There are allegations that the same leadership team fixed the results of a previous vote. (See “Pyrrhic Victory at UC Santa Barbara: The Struggle for Labor’s New Identity.” Pp. 91-116 in Cogs in the Classroom Factory: The Changing Identity of Academic Labor, edited by D. M. Herman and J. M. Schmid. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, p. 105.)
  • There have been other, local irregularities:
    • Use of a transparent ballot box at UC Santa Barbara – one side of which remained transparent days later in the vote after it was first brought to the attention of elections officials.
  • Poll-workers who are paid staff at UC Irvine telling voters how to vote, in violation of a union rule that electioneering must take place at least 10 feet from the polls.
  • Two scenarios for vote-tampering have been suggested:
    • Top Administration Caucus members could stuff the ballot boxes and alter the voting rolls at Southern California campuses where are running the elections and have easy access to the ballot box outside of voting hours.
  • Top Administration Caucus members could replace entire sets of ballots from those campuses with “yes” votes and mix the ballots from various campuses before counting them.

In light of these concerns, we demand a campus-by-campus tally of the votes tonight so that members can have faith in the results. We also demand that all Elections Committee members have full access to voting rolls and day-by-day turnout figures for every campus.

We realize these are serious allegations. Our concerns about possible fraud are just that – concerns, based on real historical patterns and current anomalies. We have just received word that members will be allowed to observe the vote count, a positive sign for transparency.

To those who would use these concerns to fuel an anti-union agenda here or elsewhere: get your sorry act out of here. We are pro-union, and we are engaged in the process of reforming our union, fighting for transparency and a real contract campaign, because teaching assistants, readers, and tutors need a democratic, creative union consisting of all of us fighting for fair treatment on the job in solidarity with students and other campus workers. We criticize officials who have misused our union, but we will not allow their misdeeds or anti-union propaganda to divide us.

¡Adelante!

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6 responses to “Notes on the possibility of vote tampering by UAW bureaucrats

  1. congratulations on your new contract!!

  2. Congrats to UAW for another flawless execution of vote rigging!!

  3. The rhetoric and tone of the people who post on this blog is really hostile, insulting and unnecessarily personal. You also make completely unfounded claims, deliberately target people of color in the Union, engage in red baiting, and generally seem uninterested in true political action and coalition building. I mean, you really haven’t done ANYTHING at all, except get some small number of people to SUPPOSEDLY sign a petition and write a bunch of blog posts. Your astounding sense of privilege and entitlement when there are other workers at the University who would LOVE to have our contract is really offensive. You give Graduate Student Workers a really bad name. Thankfully, you are a very small minority and clearly lack the motivation, organization or skills to perpetuate your elitist, ivory tower agenda.

  4. spectaculardefeat

    Clearly we didn’t rock the vote at 3 major campuses, with a landslide NO vote at Berkeley… clearly. Yeah obviously we don’t do anything up here — nothing, that is, compared to the admin caucus’ amazingly successful “REPORT CARD.” Yeah, we feel SUUUPER chastized.

  5. @One Union:

    We challenge you to produce one unfounded claim, instance of red-baiting, or “deliberately target[ing] people of color” from our blog. As we thought we had made perfectly clear, we are communists. We want every member of our union’s executive board to be communist. How could we possibly be red-baiting those who we deride as bureaucrats and collaborators with management? As for the cheap race-baiting: not even worth a response. We deliberately target people of color? We have named three members of the e-board on our site: the President, a Vice President, and the e-board representative designated to speak to the media at the most recent Regents’ meeting.

    As for not putting in work, not worth a response either. We urge you to revisit past posts on this blog displaying some of the organizing work we’ve done. We’re out there every day.

    • We should mention too that we have no idea what workers in the abstract you are talking about who would love an effective pay cut pushed through behind closed doors. We have worked with CUE/IBT and folks from AFT, AFSCME, UPTE, and ILWU on a consistent basis, and we have yet to find someone who doesn’t stand in solidarity with our struggle. We are clearly not a small minority given the contract ratification results and the unprecedented voter turnout.

      If it is “elitist” to demand that our wages keep pace with inflation, we no longer know what that term means. What in the world is “ivory tower” about attempting to organize rank-and-file union members to constitute a force that can overpower the leadership?

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