Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Please come join us to help maintain existing revenues and avoid more cuts to education!

AWDU Davis has decided to devote a night to phone banking on Tuesday June 14th from 5-8 PM at the CLC in Sacramento.

Please contact us awdudavis@gmail.com if you would like to join us. We will help organize rides to and from Davis. This will be a great opportunity to meet some of your recently elected union officials and get acquainted with the broader labor movement at the Central Labor Council.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Dear GSA Reps:

The Academic Workers for a Democratic Union, the reform movement that swept across UAW 2865 this year, would like to officially endorse several progressive candidates for the upcoming GSA election (http://gsa.ucdavis.edu/elections):

For Chair: Brian Riley
For Vice Chair: Farshid Haque
For External Chair: Rosalyn Earl
For Treasurer: Robert M. Saper (Rob)
For Campus Organizing Director: Marguerite Wilson
For Public Relations Officer: Vallerye Mosquera

Our statement is also available on the AWDU-Davis blog:  http://davisawdu.blogspot.com/

Jordan Scavo, UAW 2865 Head Steward-Davis,
AJ Morgan, UAW 2865 Head Steward-Davis,
Molly Ball, 
& Academic Workers for a Democratic Union-Davis.

Monday, May 30, 2011

You're INVITED!!! AWDU Dance Party and Fundraiser this FRIDAY!

We have a Facebook page for this event! Please join us!
here is the link:

We are having a party/BBQ/fundraiser for Academic Workers for a
Democratic Union (AWDU)
Come celebrate the achievements and continuing progress of democratic
unionism, the struggle for public education and to support academic
student employees, and to support general good times, and if possible,
donate something to our cause. Also, we will have super cool T-shirts
and buttons you can buy & show your love.

There will be a grill, condiments and bread products - please bring
stuff to grill & share
Also there will be beer. In case that needed saying.

Music provided by DJ Ripley, and possibly others.. Bring acoustic
instruments if you like (horn sections especially welcome!)
Friday, June 3 at 8:00pm-12:00am
Location: The Upper Echelons Of The Machine
                840 W MacArthur Blvd,
                Oakland, CA

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Join us for our Statewide Membership Meeting
Saturday, May 21st 2011
Time: 2:00-5:00pm
Where: UC Berkeley Campus, Boalt Hall, Room 100

Here is the link where you can RSVP and add your own agenda item(s):


Please come to the meeting in Berkeley this Saturday! FREE CHILDCARE will be provided as well as snacks and coffee. We would LOVE TO have the first meeting with QUORUM--100 members from 5 campuses across the state! YOU can make this happen! Come out and participate!

Reply if you need a ride, or if you can provide a ride. We have cars leaving from campus on Saturday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

AWDU Sweeps Elections---Our Union Will Move Forward in the Fight to Defend Public Education for All!

Dear fellow graduate and undergraduate students,

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 get the full results at www.awdu.org.

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.

In Solidarity,

Molly Ball, English – UC Davis – Outgoing Campus Recording Secretary
Justin Clement, History – UC Davis – Campus Unit Chair-Elect
Tim Gutierrez, Sociology – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect
Brenda Medina-Hernandez, History – UC Davis – Trustee-Elect
Andrew Morgan, History – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect
Tom O'Donnell, History – UC Davis – Candidate for Head Steward
Nickolas Perrone, History – UC Davis – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Brian Riley, Education – UC Davis – Graduate Student Association Chair
Blake Ringeisen, Biological Systems Engineering – UC Davis
Jordan Scavo, History – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect
Jessica Taal, Education – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect

Chima Anyadike-Danes, Anthropology – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect
Jordan Brocious, Physics – UC Irvine – Sergeant-at-Arms-Elect
Ben Cox, Anthropology – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect
Cheryl Deutsch, Anthropology – UC Irvine – President-Elect
Anne Kelly, Earth System Science – UC Irvine – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Seneca Lindsey, Earth System Science – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect
Nick Seaver, Anthropolgy – UC Irvine
Bron Tamulis, Political Science – UC Irvine
Natali Valdez, Anthropology – UC Irvine
Robert Wood, Comparative Literature – UC Irvine – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

Carolina Beltran, Spanish & Portuguese – UCLA
Ginny Browne, Urban Planning -- UCLA
Mindy Chen, Social Welfare – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Will Clark, English – UCLA
Erin Conley, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Yu-ting Huang, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Renee Hudson, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Dan Lichtenstein-Boris, Public Health – UCLA
Dustianne North, Social Welfare – UCLA
Alexei Nowak, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Jeremy Schmidt, English – UCLA – Candidate for Unit Chair
Hadley Theodara Suter, French – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Julia Tomassetti, Sociology – UCLA – Candidate for Recording Secretary
Zachary Williams, Political Science – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Elise Youn, Urban Planning – UCLA

Chris Carlson, Mathematics – UC Riverside – Steward-Elect
Elliott Kim, History – UC Riverside – Southern Vice President-Elect

John Armenta, Communications – UC San Diego – Candidate for Campus Recording Secretary
Muni Citrin, Communications – UC San Diego
John Higgins, Literature – UC San Diego – Candidate for Campus Unit Chair
Megan Turner, Literature, UC San Diego

Olivier Dufault, History – UC Santa Barbara
Sunny Lim, History – UC Santa Barbara
Jeb Sprague, Sociology – UC Santa Barbara

Josh Brahinsky, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Erin Ellison, Psychology – UC Santa Cruz
Rachel Fabian, Ocean Studies – UC Santa Cruz
Michelle Glowa, Environmental Studies – UC Santa Cruz – Head Steward-Elect
Donald Kingsbury, Politics – UC Santa Cruz
Jessy Lancaster, Psychology – UC Santa Cruz – Outgoing Campus Recording Secretary
Brian Malone, Literature – UC Santa Cruz – Outgoing Campus Unit Chair
Mark Paschal, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz
Jeb Purucker, Literature – UC Santa Cruz
Sophie Rollins, Literature – UC Santa Cruz
Jeff Sanceri, History – UC Santa Cruz – Graduate Student Assembly President
Trevor Joy Sangrey, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz
Sara Smith, Labor History – UC Santa Cruz – Northern Vice President-Elect
Anika Walke, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz
Mary Virginia Watson, Politics – UC Santa Cruz – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

Amanda Armstrong, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Matt Bonal, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley
Rachel Brahinsky, Geography – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Shane Boyle, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Dan Buch, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Chris Chen, English – UC Berkeley
Kfir Cohen, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley
Mandy Cohen, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley – Statewide Recording Secretary-Elect
Rob Connell, African-American Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Alex Dubilet, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley
Alex Dumont, English – UC Berkeley
Charlie Eaton, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Financial Secretary-Elect
Barry Eidlin, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Eli Friedman, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Pablo Gaston – Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Jessie Hock, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley
Nick Kardahji, History – UC Berkeley – Trustee-Elect
Sarah Knuth, Geography – UC Berkeley
Katy Fox-Hodess, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Zachary Levenson, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Munira Lokhandwala, Film – UC Berkeley
Katherine Maich, Sociology, Berkeley
Callie Maidhof, Anthropology – UC Berkeley
Larissa Mann, Jurisprudence & Social Policy – UC Berkeley
Daniel Marcus, Art History – UC Berkeley
Micki McCoy, History of Art – UC Berkeley -- Head Steward-Elect
Blanca Miss̩, French РUC Berkeley РGuide Elect
Megan O'Connor, English, Berkeley
Aaron Platt, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Manuel Rosaldo, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Gustavo Oliveira, Geography – UC Berkeley
Chris Schildt, City and Regional Planning – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Jessica Smith, Chemistry – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
John Stehlin, Geography – UC Berkeley
Cate Talley, French – UC Berkeley
Alex Tarr, Geography – UC Berkeley
Jennifer Tucker, City and Regional Planning – UC Berkeley – Campus Unit Chair-Elect
Daniela Urban, Law – UC Berkeley
Megan Wachspress, Jurisprudence & Social Policy – UC Berkeley – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Josh Williams, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Brandon Wolf, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley


We've gotten word from our members in LA that we should have the final results very soon. We will keep you posted as soon as we find out any information. The elections committee is meeting now to certify the elections results. The sit-down in Berkeley continues, and AWDU in LA has been ever vigilant in keeping the ballots safe and keeping the count going. Thanks to all members and supporters for the past WEEK of work!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


We have word that the vote count has resumed in L.A., with the presence of the third party observer and the local's International Reps and Administration Caucus members Mike Miller and Ken Lang present. We will keep this blog updated as we get more information about the progress at the count. Word is that it has been calm and slow-going so far.

The Davis GSA also posted the following statement on their website:

Resolution Regarding the Counting of the Ballots for UAW 2865 Elections:

In light of the controversial decision to halt the voting count for the leadership of UAW local 2865 last Saturday, the GSA is pleased to observe that the count shall resume tomorrow, Thursday May 5th at 9:00 am. Furthermore, the GSA urges the Elections committee to finalize the ballot counting procedure according to the bylaws of UAW 2865 and with due diligence, impartiality, and speed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

UCLA Graduate Student Association Responds to Vote Count Situation..

We think this offers a very trenchant analysis of the events of the past several days. Please read this important letter. You can access the UCLA GSA website to see the actual post here. 
We are happy that a time and date has been set to resume to vote count in LA. The votes will be counted beginning at 9 am this Thursday (tomorrow)! We will keep you posted on the progress of the count. A big thanks to all the AWDU members and supporters from across the state who have been keeping the ballots safe in LA and who are sitting down at the statewide office in Berkeley until the votes are counted. Onward...

GSA Officers Call on UAW Leaders to Resume Elections

May 3, 2011 - 3:30pm

Fellow graduate students,

You may have been following the recent elections of union officials for UAW 2865, the union representing student academic employees including GSRs, teaching assistants, tutors and readers across the UC. Under normal circumstances we would not need to comment on these elections, as they are intended to be a straightforward matter of student-workers making a choice. However, it is precisely this ability to choose that is now at stake. As graduate student advocates, we are intervening to bring a measure of clarity in an important matter unfolding on our campus that involves our fellow students.
There is a possibility that ballots from UCLA and Berkeley will not be counted, representing nearly half of all voters in this election. We cannot reconstruct a moment-by-moment history of these elections. Suffice it to say, the UAW Elections Committee, possibly in violation of bylaws, suspended the vote count before tallying ballots from UCLA and Berkeley after it had been determined totals from other campuses would likely result in a victory for the incumbent slate, United for Social and Economic Justice (USEJ). The Elections Committee voted to defer further counting to a Joint Council meeting approximately two months away and fled the scene before objections could be heard.

While it is possible to read these events as fairly straight forward and unproblematic, we find a few key developments and political realities troubling.

1. There is a general consensus of those close to the election is that there is a fair or better chance that when UCLA and Berkeley are counted the challenging slate, Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) will win, though this is speculation. However, if those ballots are not counted, incumbent slate USEJ will win.

2. The logic of self-interest leads to distinct political strategies for each slate. USEJ incumbents benefit most from a strategy that invalidates remaining uncounted ballots. AWDU challengers, who have the chance to win if all ballots are counted, benefit most from a strategy that protects the ballots.

3. The incumbent president of the union so far appears engaged in a strategy consistent with the self-interest of USEJ. Daraka Larimore-Hall widely distributed a misleading email and blog accusing AWDU of preventing the ballots from being counted and accusing them of vote-tampering. His evidence was a picture of an alleged AWDU supporter opening and reaching into a ballot box at Berkeley. It has since been confirmed that this picture captures a volunteer poll worker setting up a voting station before voting began. It is unlikely that this posting was a misunderstanding, given that the picture in question fails to depict key elements of an active station, elements that should be apparent to the union president who was actively engaged in the campaign. His accusations could only cast doubt upon the validity of the ballots, a move that benefits him.

4. AWDU is engaging in a campaign consistent with their self-interest (and we might add, the interests of voters), and has locked the ballots in a room that they cannot open (though USEJ can). They are also currently filming the ballots and you can watch them twenty-four hours a day on live feed. In addition, AWDU activists from three campuses have been camping out at the union office on Hilgard, guarding the ballots and waiting for the count to resume. Accordingly. we find it hard to believe claims of AWDU obstructionism.

5. Considering the justifiable suspicion of unethical conduct, based on troubling behavior of those who stand to gain from postponing or prematurely ending the election, a two-month waiting period may be too long to protect the ballots from doubt of corruption and ultimate disqualification before the counting process resumes.

We call on the UAW leadership and Elections Committee to do the right thing and count the votes. We find the apparent willingness of current leadership to postpone this election and falsely taint the votes of members to be extremely troubling sign of a strategy based on self-interest, unbefitting those seeking further terms in power. We believe this union is too crucial to the wellbeing of teachers and those they teach for leadership to play into stereotypes of bad unions, but the problems too important not to acknowledge and attempt to rectify. There is only one way to insure fairness not only to both sides, but most importantly to voters, and that is to count the votes now. Let the chips fall wherever they may.


Cheye-Ann Corona, VP of External Affairs
Luis Limon, VP of Internal Affairs
Kimberlina McKinney, VP of Academic Affairs
Jason Ball, Communications Director

Regrettably, media did not respond to GSA requests for press coverage of this brewing controversy when we were informed of it on Friday. As such, most material available on the matter is partisan. However, if you are interested in looking into the matter further, we provide the following links and have faith in your ability to parse out something more or less true from the competing claims in each. Please note we could only find two sites that represent a distinctly USEJ perspective, but we encourage you to communicate with them through their website for their take on allegations made against them.

Official AWDU Statewide Site
Official USEJ Statewide Site
(No USEJ at UCLA site found)

Mr. Larimore-Hall's Post Alleging Corruption

Response from the Accused Poll Worker

Live Feed of Remaining UCLA/Berkeley Ballots

Petition by Labor Scholars Demanding All Ballots Be Counted

THOSE WHO USE IT, A popular blog on the UC student movement that has followed the elections.

Daily Cal article covering som possible union bylaws violations

Monday, May 2, 2011


UAW Local 2865 office in Berkeley
Supporters show up in solidarity from ILWU Local 6 and ILWU Local 75

We are members from UCSC, UCD, and UCB waiting for the vote count to resume in LA, and we are staying in our office until the count is finished. We are in solidarity with the members who are in the UCLA UAW 2865 office. 


The previous post detailed some of the more absurd claims that USEJ has leveled at UWDU over the past few days. One of them was a picture sent out by Daraka Larimore-Hall, accusing a member and poll worker at Berekely of tampering with the ballots. Below is that person's response to the accusations. His name is of course used by permission.

I am the person in the picture.  I would estimate that it was taken around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27.  It could be a little before or after; I wasn't keeping track of the exact time.  I was setting up the polling place at Sather Gate on Wednesday morning.  This is a picture from just before I opened up the poll.  I had tested the ballot box, and the way the slot had been cut, you could not get ballots to go in because the second layer of flaps blocked the opening.  So I opened the box to tape those flaps down, then closed it again.  After doing that, I finished arranging the materials on the table and opened the polling place.  My solution to the ballot box design flaw didn't work particularly well, because the flaps inside came un-taped and the ballots got a bit gummed up inside.  But I didn't open it again, because by that point voting had started.

We took the utmost care to make sure that the election was free and fair.  We followed all the union's safeguards to make sure that everyone's vote was accurately cast and safely counted.  We carefully tracked the number of ballots we were given and the number cast so that none would go missing and none be added.  If voters had questions about candidates, we did not give them our opinions but directed them to the candidate statements.  If they asked further, we let them know that representatives from both sides were available to speak to them.  In those cases, I always directed voters to the representatives from both sides, including to Mr. Larimore-Hall.  

I'm sad that there has been either a misunderstanding or a deliberate misrepresentation of this photograph.  If Mr. Larimore-Hall had come to speak to me, I could have shown him the problem with the ballot box and demonstrated that voting had not yet begun.  If he had come to speak to me, he might also have learned that I didn't have a stake in the election and was a first-time volunteer just trying to help out the union.  On the day of the balloting, it would have been all the same to me if Mr. Larimore-Hall had won reelection.  But now I'm not so sure.

Kenneth Fockele, UC Berkeley

Sunday, May 1, 2011


In an apparent attempt to rally his base UAW Local 2865 President Daraka Larimore-Hall sent a message to his “supporters” claiming that the counting of votes was no longer possible due to politically motivated challenges on behalf of AWDU supporters. The email claims that “AWDU challengers at the count . . . blocked the counting of ballots at UCLA in an effort to erase their votes,” while also curiously claiming that “AWDU members attempted to physically prevent the election committee from leaving the ballot counting room.” It does not make much sense that AWDU supporters would both prevent the counting of ballots while forcing the election committee to remain in the ballot counting room. Which one is it Mr. Larimore-Hall? Did they try and prevent the counting of ballots or did they try and force them to count the ballots? More serious than this curious claim is that of voter fraud on behalf of AWDU supporters.

The main thrust of Mr. Larimore-Hall’s allegations of voter fraud are based a photograph that he posted along with his message. The photograph posted below shows a man with his hands clearly in what appears to be the ballot box at a polling location at Berkeley.

Mr. Larimore-Hall boldly uses this photograph as proof that “an AWDU supporter at Berkeley was photographed opening and rummaging through the ballot box while polls were open.” These are very serious allegations that Mr. Larimore-Hall apparently made very hastily and perhaps without actually looking at the photograph or asking any questions surrounding its circumstances. The first thing one notices when looking at the photograph is that this man is the only one present, aside from the photographer. Is it possible that the reason this man was left alone with all of the polling materials in a very contentious election is that he is the poll worker for this location? Furthermore, this man has been identified and has no connection with the AWDU organization. He simply responded to an email requesting the service of poll workers for the upcoming election. Where is the proof that he is an “AWDU supporter?” Should we just take Mr. Larimore-Hall at his word?

Upon closer examination one also notices the long shadows in the photograph. Could these possibly have been cast by the early morning sun? Say around 9:55 AM? If one looks closely at the photograph the box appears to have no tape on it yet. How is this possible? All ballot boxes are supposed to be adequately taped before polling begins. Yes, it is possible that this unidentified “AWDU supporter” arrived at the polls before they opened, only to find a vacated polling place, where he then rummaged through an empty ballot box, and all of this happened to be captured by a USEJ supporter on his or her camera which they then forgot about until late Saturday evening, when the vote appeared to be trending toward an AWDU victory. Or, the more likely context of the photograph is that this man is a poll worker setting up the polling station for a day of voting. If these accusations were true and caught on tape, why did Mr. Larimore-Hall wait until Saturday night to let his supporters know of such an egregious violation? Again, Saturday night is when the vote began to trend in favor of an AWDU victory.

Perhaps more troubling than the Mr. Larimore-Hall’s improper use of this photograph as a basis for claims of voter fraud are his allegations that “when USEJ members [left the vote count at UCLA], AWDU members hurled homophobic slurs at USEJ members.” This is ironic, especially considering that six of ten AWDU Executive Board candidates identify themselves as queer or bisexual. Given the record of AWDU members and candidates, the accusation that homophobic slurs were hurled at USEJ supporters as they abandoned the vote count is shameless and absurd. Using an accusation such as this in order to activate your base is unacceptable in any circumstance, regardless of how frustrated Mr. Larimore-Hall was with the prospect of losing the election. This misleading and disgusting accusation is hardly befitting of an individual who is or would like to remain the president of our local.

Join us in demanding that Mr. Larimore-Hall retract his accusations of voter fraud based on this photograph, apologize for and retract his claims of AWDU homophobia, and set the record straight about who is trying to steal the election. We demand that all votes be counted immediately, and AWDU candidate-members and members remain in the UAW LA office. They have been trying to get a neutral third party to take custody of the ballots to ensure that they will be safe and so that USEJ cannot claim that the ballots are “spoiled”. We continue to urge all members who voted in the election to e-mail Larimore-Hall (larimorehall@uaw2865.org) and International representatives Mike Miller (mmiller@uaw.net) and Ken Lang (klang@uaw.net) to demand that the counting resume in LA.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This may be the most important email that I send you as a member of UAW Local 2865.

Tonight, the current UAW statewide leadership stopped the vote count from last week's election because they believed they were going to lose. 

For the last two days, approximately 3200 votes from this election were being counted at the UAW office at UCLA.  According to numerous observers in the room, it became increasingly apparent today that Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) was going to win the Executive Board of our union, as well as a majority on the Joint Council.  At 5 PM, the chair of the Elections Committee, Travis Knowles of UCSD, took a three hour break to caucus with USEJ candidate and incumbent Jorge Cabrera.  When Knowles returned, he announced that the Elections Committee would certify the counted ballots, adjourn, and leave the rest of the ballots uncounted.  This motion did not actually pass (only three of seven members voted).  Even so, Knowles then fled the room--accompanied by the members of the Elections Committee who had consistently voted in the interests of the incumbent candidates.  They left behind all of the ballots.  They abandoned the election. 

Hours later, Travis Knowles sent a message to UAW members "explaining" that the election is "partially certified" and that the Joint Council will take up the question of the remaining ballots at the next meeting in July.  But make no mistake: they have no intention of counting these ballots.  There are still more than one thousand uncounted ballots from Berkeley and UCLA that cannot possibly be protected until July.  Nor should we expect the Joint Council, which will apparently still carry its pre-election USEJ majority, to hold the USEJ accountable for their corrupt maneuver. 

Knowles's message was followed by a ridiculous email from UAW President Daraka Larimore-Hall in which he accused AWDU of trying to steal the election he is currently in the process of stealing.  This email is a monument to indiscriminate falsehood.  He linked to a picture taken at Berkeley before polls opened (in which a poll worker was putting together the ballot box for that day's vote--note the angle of the early morning sun) as evidence for AWDU tampering.  He accused an AWDU candidate of using a "homophobic slur," apparently hoping to elide the fact that seven out of ten AWDU candidates for Executive Board are queer.  He is grasping at straws and will clearly do anything to hold onto his power. 

Let me say it again: the UAW Elections Committee, at the behest of the incumbent leadership, has abandoned more than 1000 votes that are currently sitting in the UCLA office.  They gave up counting when they realized they were going to lose.  They are going to certify the results that they want to certify--despite the fact that thousands of votes must be ignored to do so.  No matter who you voted for, they have thrown away your vote.  And now they are accusing AWDU of trying to steal the election. 

The incumbents sent you a lot of emails in the past two weeks touting how much they love union democracy.  And now we can see how they truly feel about it. 

Members of AWDU are currently looking into all possible legal and administrative remedies.  We are charting a course of action that will include direct action by all UAW members who believe in union democracy.  We will be in touch soon to talk about what we can all do together to prevent this election from being stolen. 

However, right now, I suggest you contact the following people and let them know how you feel about their attempted election theft:

President Daraka Larimore-Hall  larimorehall@uaw2865.org
Vice President Jorge Cabrera  jcabrera@uaw2865.org
Financial Secretary Donna Fenton  financial@uaw2865.org
Elections Committee Chair Travis Knowles 

We need to stop business-as-usual at the UAW until they COUNT ALL THE VOTES. 

In Solidarity,
Davis AWDU Candidates


This just in! It looks like the challenged Berkeley votes will be counted. More news to follow...

Thanks to all the AWDU activists from ACROSS THE STATE who went to the LA union office to put pressure on the leadership to have the votes counted.


Friday, April 29, 2011


In the wake of a hotly contested election for leadership UAW local
2865, reports from inside the vote count indicate UAW officials may be
trying to steal the election. The count is unfolding currently in Los
Angeles, where one member has challenged every box of
ballots from UC Berkeley on fabricated grounds. The ballots being
challenged represent 25% of all votes cast: about 800 of approximately
3,200 total votes in this election. The challenge threatens to
disenfranchise every voter on the campus with the union's largest
membership. UAW local 2865 represents over 12,000 Academic Student
Employees across the UC system.

UC Berkeley is a stronghold for Academic Workers for a Democratic
Union, the reform caucus that is challenging the incumbent leadership.
The incumbents recently re-branded themselves as USEJ – United for
Social and Economic Justice. As of publication, it is unclear whether
the 60 AWDU candidates in this election are winning in the tally. But
it is clear that the strategy of the USEJ is to use their muscle --
including their majority position on the local's elections committee
which has decision-making power over vote challenges -- to try to
squash the power of AWDU members. AWDU has organized on all 9

The tally is underway at the UCLA UAW 2865 office, located at 900
Hilgard Suite 312 at the corner of Le Conte, in Los Angeles.

According to Charlie Eaton, the AWDU candidate for financial
secretary, who is present at the vote tally, USEJ-affiliated Des
Harmon has been allowed to challenge hundreds of ballots. This itself
may be in violation of union rules about vote challenges. Harmon's
legitimacy as a challenger is in question because he not a graduate
student, not a teaching assistant, and not a union member in good
standing. In the February vacancy elections, Harmon ran as a USEJ
candidate for Trustee.

AWDU members on the local’s elections committee have been working for
months to make the vote fair and transparent. Supporters of USEJ
repeatedly blocked changes to the local’s election rules that AWDU
contends would make UAW 2865 elections more transparent. In fact, at
the most recent meeting of the Local’s Joint Council, USEJ members
voted to adjourn the meeting rather than allow a debate to be held on
election protocols and guidelines.

AWDU encourages the media to contact UAW local 2865 incumbent
President Daraka Larimore-Hall at 805.403.8183 and ask why he is
having members of his administration attempt to void the votes and
voices of hundreds of members.

Thank You!

Now that voting has ended, the AWDU caucus at Davis would like to thank everyone that turned up to support our cause. It looks like we had a record turnout and we should know the outcome of the election in the coming days. We can definitely be proud of the effort our candidates put in to help reform our union and make the UC more friendly to labor while making our own union more responsive to its members. We will keep you posted with the results as we get them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Election Update! One More Day of Voting!

The campaign by USEJ candidates at Davis has turned nasty. Xochitl Lopez, candidate for Vice President-North has resorted to interrupting our campaign volunteers in the middle of speaking with potential voters. She has also been heard telling potential voters that we (AWDU) "have been stuffing the ballot boxes at Santa Cruz." While making these dangerous and baseless accusations she has blatantly violated election rules by contacting voters while they are attempting to cast ballots.

These blatant and shameless violations come on the heels of a tumultuous first day of voting at Davis. After the polls closed for daytime voting, the designated election official was delayed by both Lopez and a paid staffer from the International named Jeff Otter, who claims that he is spending his vacation time at Davis to help USEJ candidates get elected. Otter and Lopez delayed the election official by pointing out what they claimed was mishandling of election materials, but turned out to be inconsequential technicalities, as confirmed by Elections Chair Travis Knowles. Furthermore, they were verbally abusive toward the elections official with no other objective than to delay the evening voting that was scheduled to commence at 5 PM. Unfortunately, Otter and Lopez were successful in preventing any ballots from being cast for almost an hour as the polling materials were not available until nearly 6 PM.

USEJ is clearly committed to preventing our students at Davis from voting at all cost. There is no regard for the democratic process and all efforts for a civil campaign have apparently been abandoned. Similar tactics have been used by USEJ at UC Irvine, where a UAW staffer told a grad student that if they voted for AWDU, we would “make them go on strike”. Meanwhile, at UCLA, the so-called USEJ caucus accused AWDU of being “racists”. Read the blog post detailing the accusations and AWDU’s response here. Also, a paid staffer at UC Irvine who is out campaigning for the USEJ slate told members there that she was “on vacation”, an identical story that Mr. Otter told us here at Davis. What a coincidence! This is precisely the sort of behavior we would expect from the people who have run the union for the past ten years. They have gotten away with so much for so long with zero accountability, that to expect ethical behavior now is wishful thinking. Somehow, the rules never seem to apply to them, and they are extremely loose with the serious accusations of racism, radicalism, and recklessness that they publicly launch at AWDU members and candidates. While USEJ may need to resort to paid staffers, stall tactics, and violations to get their slate of absentee candidates elected, the Davis AWDU caucus is committed to reform and real representation. Our candidates have consistently demonstrated their commitment to represent Davis by attending union meetings, coordinating days of action across campus, and actively campaigning. We have yet to see any of the USEJ candidates aside from Lopez, and if her actions and behavior represent the attitude and demeanor of the rest of the USEJ candidates, then we are all better off in their absence.

A union with active members is a stronger union. Vote AWDU to help build a real grassroots, member-driven union. Become a steward, hold a departmental meeting in your department, attend a membership meeting. WE are the UNION.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sample Ballot for AWDU Endorsed Candidates

Voting begins tomorrow and you can print your AWDU endorsed sample ballot here. Thanks for all of your support in reforming our union. We hope to see you all out there on election days.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Print out the slate card for AWDU positions at Davis. Bring this with you to the polls to help bring reform to our union on election day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Campaign Flyers

Stop UCD Administration from Monitoring Student Protests!

Check out this article from The California Aggie about the administration's attempts to monitor student protests. You can download and view all of the correspondence between the Student Activism and Response Team (SAT) here.

Is this really the way our university should be dedicating resources at a time that they claim they must increase fees in order to keep the university afloat? The students shouldn't have to pay for the paranoia of UCD administrators. If they want to keep tabs on how the UCD student population expresses their first amendment right, then they should do it on their own time.

Fox 40 Story on the same issue.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The New Campaign Flyer

We have a new flyer that will be distributed in the coming week ahead of the much anticipated election. Please take a look and provide input on any info that you would like to have added or removed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Statewide AWDU Meeting

The next statewide AWDU meeting is this week: Friday April 8th! Please try to attend the meeting, which will be held at Berkeley. Does anybody want to carpool?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Hello everyone.

This is a new space for us to post ideas, concerns, and events for our actions on the Davis campus. My hope is that we can expand our membership and involvement amongst the graduate students so that we will be able to leverage our power more effectively in the future. As we work to reform our union, we must also keep in mind that our goal is not just a reformation of the union as it is, but greater awareness of issues surrounding public education. The union, and the eventual reform that we seek, is not just for the benefit of graduate students on the UC campuses, but a vessel for us to voice our support for issues that we hold near and dear, as well as issues that we oppose. If we can remain organized, then we have a chance to create a structure at Davis that will remain both active and alert. We must be active so that we can thwart policies that are dangerous to the welfare of graduate student employees, higher education, and fellow workers. We must remain alert so that we can mobilize quickly, efficiently, and forcefully in order to bring attention to issues that we have either failed to influence, or have been enacted outside our purview. My hope is that in the future we will be more active, because there will be no need to be so alert. Unfortunately, our current situation requires more vigilance than anything. With the erosion of workers rights coming thick and fast we must motivate ourselves to motivate others. If we can convince our colleagues that it is in their best interest to devote even a small amount of time and effort to the cause, then we will be able to disburse our efforts to much greater effect. I hope that we can gather here for information and support, so that we can somehow fit this massive task into our already unimaginably busy lives. Please post, comment, and invite others to join.

In Solidarity,