The following letter was written by three AWDU candidates in the upcoming UAW 2865 triennial e-board election (to be held April 26-28 on all UC campuses). While we generally try not to repost material available elsewhere, this one is too good to pass up. In three separate instances, candidates on the AC/USEJ slate felt as if they were deceived into running on that ticket and have openly distanced themselves from the incumbent leadership as a result. Their defection letters — the last of which we linked to yesterday — are reproduced immediately below the AWDU letter.
Dear USEJ candidates,
We are just one week away from one of the most important elections in the history of our Local. Never before have so many members run for elected positions, an exciting marker of widespread rank-and-file investment in the future direction of our union. We want to welcome your participation in this process. While we may disagree on some things, it seems likely we will have much common ground from which to have a lively and productive dialogue. There is, of course, a concern that inspired this letter: we think this election is being compromised by the misuse of incumbent power.
Over the past weeks several USEJ candidates have asked to be withdrawn from the slate or from the election altogether because they simply came to the union to become active, not to be slotted by the current leadership onto one side of a political debate (see the letters below for more details). Some were not told they were entering a contested election. Some were told they should run long enough to fill the USEJ slate and then quit after the election. In other words, in a contested election their job was to keep AWDU activists out, and not even take their place. It also means their names have been supporting the status quo Eboard against the AWDU reform slate when they did not intend to do so.
People approached by USEJ have responded to this realization in several ways: some refused to join the slate when it appeared compromised, others joined but upon learning of the contested election asked the USEJ to let them be independent – although that request was ignored for over a week, and others pulled out of the election altogether. The key here is that these people are telling the world that an endorsement of them is not an endorsement of the USEJ.
Following are three letters from people approached by the USEJ to run – at Merced, UCLA and UCI. To be clear, they are not endorsing AWDU, but simply concerned with the power of incumbency in this election.
Thanks for your participation and for holding this election to a high standard of democratic process. Please feel free to forward this to any USEJ candidates for whom we did not find emails or just missed in some way.
Cheryl Deutsch, Anthropology, UC Irvine
Seneca Lindsay, Earth System Science, UC Irvine
Josh Brahinsky, History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz
Letter 1 – from former USEJ candidates at UCI
We are writing to inform you of our decision to withdraw from the election. We agreed to run without full information, and as we have gained more information we have grown concerned about the leadership of the UCI United for Social and Economic Justice slate. We were repeatedly led to believe that Coral is a UCI graduate student, which she is not. While we are uneasy with the idea of having non-students as campus representatives, we are especially uncomfortable running with someone who would deliberately misrepresent herself.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Letter 2 – From a former USEJ candidate at Merced, listed on the USEJ slate until the middle of this week
From: “Eric Chiu” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Apr 13, 2011 11:04 PM
Subject: Slate decision
Hi Daraka Larimore-Hall,
I was told by Charlie Eaton that I should contact you about my decision to identify as independent rather than either of the current slates. Please let me know if you need anything else from me. Thank you for your time.
Eric M. Chiu
Ph.D. Graduate Student of Cognitive Science
University of California, Merced