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
Vice President Jorge Cabrera
Financial Secretary Donna Fenton
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?