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.