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

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