Wow, we knew the career bureaucrats in UAW’s Administration Caucus (now calling themselves “United for Social and Economic Justice” for campaign purposes) liked to play dirty, but we thought they’d at least pen an attack on AWDU that would spark an AWDU response. Instead, they’ve come out with this ridiculousness. First off, we can only assume they are putting “AWDU” in scare quotes as a response to our initial post on USEJ astroturfing. A word of advice to USEJ’s bloggers: it makes no sense to do this with “AWDU.” We don’t even understand your intentions. “USEJ” in quotes implies that it is a third-rate front for the Administration Caucus; what does “AWDU” imply, that its members aren’t academic workers? We’d laugh, except it’s not funny in this situation, as a number of USEJ’s candidates for the UAW 2865 statewide executive board are not themselves academic workers, nor have many of them been for years! A cursory review of USEJ’s slate reveals that a shocking number of their candidates are not currently enrolled, including their Southern VP candidate Jorge Cabrera, Financial Secretary and Berkeley head steward candidate Donna Fenton, and Irvine head steward candidate Coral Wheeler, just to name a few. We only wish AWDU would come out and attack USEJ for posing as workers while running career bureaucrats in their stead, but alas, no such public attack has been drafted.
Which brings us to a hilarious irony. USEJ opens their latest missive with an accusation against AWDU for launching “personal attacks” and engaging in “unscrupulous tactics.” An even more ridiculous polemic, this time in the form of a press release made available below, calls on AWDU to
put a stop to dirty campaign tactics that observers say threatens the integrity of the union’s upcoming officer elections.
They do so immediately before spending the rest of the press release attacking AWDU for “harassing and intimidating members,” for “taking the low road,” and for engaging in “campaign stunts.” We hope the reporters who receive this release have a good laugh.
Of course the substance of the attack is baseless. The only concrete AWDU attempt to, as they write, “disqualify” one of their candidates is the case of Sayil Camacho, a USEJ candidate for head steward at UCLA. Let’s take a minute to examine the situation. We have no beef with Camacho, nor do we particularly want to see her disqualified; nor does AWDU, it would appear, as we couldn’t find a single public statement to that effect. No matter. Let’s assume AWDU is in fact pursuing a vicious campaign against her. Why, you might ask? Any candidate for office in UAW 2865 must be a member in good standing for an entire year according to the union’s own bylaws. Camacho is not currently a student or worker on a UC campus. Case closed, or so you’d think, but the plot thickens. As it turns out, she’s currently a paid organizer for AFSCME 3299 at UCLA, and she was hired by the UAW 2865 leadership to do organizing work without being a member of the union. If this isn’t a clear breach of the union’s bylaws, we don’t know what is. USEJ repeatedly references this situation in terms of “AWDU attacks on Sayil.” But there were no attacks on Sayil. AWDU doesn’t want non-members representing them as workers in the union. The real question is why the hell the Administration Caucus is seeking out non-students — both students-to-be such as Camacho and ex-students like Cabrera, Fenton, and Wheeler — to fill up their slate. Could it be that active rank-and-file members of 2865 view their platform as a joke? Could it be that they don’t want their union dues wasted on campaigning for austerity champion Jerry Brown? Could it be that they don’t want career bureaucrats running the show in their name? Could it be that they don’t want a pay cut in real terms represented as a raise? And PS, Admin Caucus: this horseshit about the 2 % “raise” being an achievement in these hard financial times is a joke. If you fought for your membership and ended up with nothing better than 2 %, fine. But when you announce resignation prior to any conflict with management whatsoever and invoke the difficult atmosphere, rank-and-file members wonder why the hell you’re parroting management’s line. We always thought your job was to represent the interests of your membership; why you toe the line of the UC administration remains a mystery to us.
Update: UCSC AWDU responds to accusations that they are “undemocratic.” Read the latest post on their blog here.