The following open letter was written by rank-and-file members of AWDU at UCLA in the wake of recently elected USEJ-affiliated UCLA recording secretary Matt Luckett’s open condemnation of USEJ’s attempt to invalidate the recent UAW 2865 election results. (Oof, that was a mouthful.) In light of Luckett’s call that both sides leave all official challenges to election results behind, our AWDU comrades explain why they are protesting the eligibility of Sayil Camacho (which we’ve addressed before here and here). They argue that it would set a dangerous precedent for members to leave unchallenged the election to a leadership position of a non-student who is ineligible for membership in the union. We here at TWUI couldn’t agree more strongly and endorse their position wholeheartedly. In addition to the fact that Camacho’s organizing practice embodies everything we find objectionable about the top-down model associated with the Administration Caucus/USEJ; and in addition to the fact that she violated protocol in “us[ing] union resources to gain a material advantage in the election for herself and the rest of the USEJ slate,” she was undeniably ineligible to run. Camacho is not a student, let alone a student-worker. Case closed.
If you’re a member of UAW 2865 and interested in the issues raised in Luckett’s open letter and/or the UCLA AWDU response, come out and discuss them at tomorrow’s membership meeting, 2-5 pm at UC Berkeley. Head up Bancroft Way to Boalt Hall (@ College Ave.). The meeting will be held in Room 100. Come one, come all!
As supporters of Academic Workers for a Democratic Union at UCLA, we agree with the spirit of Matt Luckett’s call for our union to move forward and leave the results of the election to rest. We also agree with Matt that many challenges filed in this election on both sides were supported by the thinnest of evidence, and that any outstanding protests must be “airtight.”
As a matter of full disclosure, we do support one outstanding protest that we believe is justified under strict standards of evidence. This letter of protest against the eligibility of Sayil Camacho as a head steward candidate and member of our Local can be viewed publicly in its entirety at http://www.uaw2865.org/?page_id=3315.
In brief, our grounds for protesting Ms. Camacho’s eligibility are based on three clear violations of the UAW Constitution and our Local’s Bylaws:
- the fact that she was ineligible to become a member at the time that she filled out her membership card and the fact that she remains ineligible as she is not a current graduate student
- the fact that she was ineligible to run for elected office because she was granted membership less than ninety days before the election; and
- the fact that she used union resources to gain a material advantage in the election for herself and the rest of the USEJ slate.
We will present evidence for these claims at the Statewide Membership Meeting on May 21st, leaving it up to the membership then to vote on Ms. Camacho’s case. We do not believe that Ms. Camacho’s actions invalidate the entire election. However, the UAW Constitution and Local Bylaws clearly indicate that they disqualify her as a member and candidate for elected office.
While we acknowledge that UCLA voters chose Ms. Camacho as one of their head steward representatives, evidence points to the fact that Ms. Camacho misrepresented herself to voters, and that her campaign was not run in good faith to them. So we do not believe that the informed will of voters was accomplished in this case.
As this election campaign has seen an undue amount of personal slander and accusations of harassment and intimidation, in order to avoid any such claims being made against us in retaliation, we stress that we are in no way singling Ms. Camacho out personally by filing this protest. In fact, we sincerely hope that we can work together moving forward provided that she does in the future meet our Local’s eligibility criteria for membership.
Finally, we wish to note that we previously submitted a protest against the eligibility of Jacob Burstein-Stern, another candidate for head steward at UCLA. We undertook this protest for similar reasons as our protest against Ms. Camacho’s eligibility: because Mr. Burstein-Stern is not a current student, we had reason to think he was also not a member in good standing. After notifying Mr. Burstein-Stern and Ms. Camacho of our intended protests, and inviting them both to respond to us about them, Mr. Burstein-Stern helped clarify that he was technically eligible to run. Nevertheless, we continue to question whether it is appropriate for members who are no longer students to hold elected office in our Local, since they do not represent current student workers. But our intention is to abide by the UAW Constitution and Bylaws of our Local, so we have chosen to respect Mr. Burstein-Stern’s technical right to hold office at this time.
We relinquish any claims to the remainder of UCLA election challenges precisely because we agree with Matt’s statement that further pursuit of them will strike of the kind of factionalization that will ultimately alienate members and slowly destroy our union. What is as stake is nothing less than the ability of voters to choose their own leadership in a free and fairly run election. They have done that. At UCLA, voters chose USEJ. In the spirit of Matt’s letter, we look forward to moving past the election and seeking opportunities for engaging in fair and democratic dialogue with all eligible candidates and members, together.
Carolina Beltran, Spanish and Portuguese – UCLA
Ginevra Browne, Urban Planning – UCLA
Mindy Chen, Social Welfare – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Jacob Collins, History – UCLA
Erin Conley, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Holly Craig-Wehrle, History – UCLA
John-Edward Guevarra, Urban Planning – UCLA
Yuting Huang, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Renee Hudson, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Dustianne North, Social Welfare – UCLA
Alexei Nowak, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Jeremy Schmidt, English – UCLA – Candidate for Unit Chair
Althea Rani Sircar, Political Science – UCLA
Hadley Theadora Suter, French and Francophone Studies – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Julia Tomassetti, Sociology – UCLA – Candidate for Campus Recording Secretary
Zachary Williams, Political Science – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Gary Yeritsian, Sociology – UCLA
Elise Youn, Urban Planning – UCLA
Alexander Zevin, History – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward