This just in: AWDU has won every single executive board position, as well as just over half of all joint council positions. This is huge. More details as things progress; the results haven’t even officially been announced yet. Congrats to all involved! All power to the rank-and-file!
Update: Detailed results are available in the official election report. In short, AWDU won just under 60 percent of the total seats on the statewide joint council. Meanwhile the Admin Caucus is still whining about “ultra-negative campaigning,” though we’ve yet to find an AWDU ad hominem attack in print, whereas we’ve seen quite a few on the USEJ site. We suppose that when you haven’t participated in a contested election for the better part of a decade, substantive differences might be perceived as personal attacks. So be it. This camp is now suggesting that the finality of the election results is in dispute. The Wikipedia entry for former UAW 2865 President Daraka Larimore-Hall, which seems to have been created by Daraka himself, alleges,
The election continued the debate over the strength of the recently-ratified bargaining agreement, but ultimately this debate was overshadowed by allegations of election fraud, including improper ballot counting and voter intimidation on both sides.
We have contacts on every UC campus and have yet to hear of anything that might possibly be construed as intimidation. Hopefully the plot won’t thicken yet again; we’ll keep you posted.
AWDU has released the following statement:
We are excited to announce that our votes have finally been counted and our reform slate has won nearly 60% of positions on our UAW 2865 union Joint Council! The 80-member Joint Council is the highest elected body of our union with representatives from every campus.
55% of voters also cast their ballots for our Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) reform slate for the UAW 2865 Executive Board – electing our candidates to all 10 positions on the Board, including President. The Elections Committee has certified these election results as true and fair. You can see the full results here.
The election itself and our struggle to count every vote has already transformed our union. The debate and struggle were contentious. But this struggle opened up a huge new space for thousands of our members to participate in deciding how to defend our interests as a union. Turnout in the election increased to about 3,400 votes from just a few hundred votes in the last Triennial Election for the Joint Council and Executive Board.
The struggle to count the votes also deepened member involvement in our union. Last Saturday, when three members of the election committee halted the vote count, abandoning the ballots of 1500 members regardless of their votes, UAW members spoke up. Thousands of members wrote letters, signed petitions, and made phone calls to demand that the votes be counted. Members organized to guard the ballots that the statewide officials abandoned in the UCLA office. Members rallied, marched, and sat-down at the UAW statewide office. It was an unprecedented display of member power and the result was the resumption of vote counting by the statewide officials.
Now it is time for us to bring this strength to our fight against the attacks on higher education. As a next step, we are calling on all graduate students and undergraduate tutors – no matter who they supported in the election – to come together for a statewide membership meeting of the union on May 21st to chart the way forward. We’ll get you more details soon. But high on the agenda is stepping up the fight against increasing class sizes, fee hikes, rising housing costs, new budget cuts, and UC management’s capping of funding for fee remissions and health benefits for graduate student employees.
We will stand together against the attacks on higher education, in real unity borne of fruitful discussion that includes disagreement. A grassroots, bottom-up union is strong when it provides space for open debate, and we hope that every member continues to express criticism when necessary. We also know that many members of the USEJ slate and many USEJ supporters never wanted to stop the vote count in the first place. We hope that the Elections Committee’s dismissal of the fabricated allegations by some of the outgoing union officers will help up us begin a more honest dialogue with each other.
The incredible diversity of our newly elected Joint Council and entire union is a vital strength that we must actively build upon. By working together, including with the new Joint Council members from USEJ, we will win historic advances for the rights of student-workers and the expansion of public education. We look forward to building a new kind of union together.