Fain wins historic UAW presidential race, will be sworn in Sunday

Breana Noble, Jordyn Grzelewski and Kalea Hall, The Detroit News on

Published in Business News

DETROIT — United Auto Workers presidential candidate Shawn Fain has defeated incumbent Ray Curry in a historic, first-ever direct election for the union's highest office, the federal monitor overseeing the vote confirmed Saturday afternoon.

Fain will be sworn in on Sunday according to the monitor, clearing the way for him to lead the UAW's critical bargaining convention that opens Monday in Detroit. At the quadrennial convention, UAW leaders and delegates will determine what the priorities for negotiations later this year with Detroit's three automakers will be.

The results come after weeks of delays in vote tabulation as a thin margin between the two candidates showcased divisions in the Detroit-based union as it emerges from a yearslong corruption scandal and faces the threats from the electric transformation in its core industry.

Fain, 54, an international administrative representative in the Stellantis Department running on the UAW Members United slate backed by the Unite All Workers for Democracy Caucus, beat Curry, 57, by 483 votes — 50.2% to 49.8% — the monitor said in its Saturday court filing.

In a statement, Fain said: “I want to thank each and every member who cast a vote in this historic first direct election of our top leadership. This election was not just a race between two candidates, it was a referendum on the direction of the UAW. For too long, the UAW has been controlled by leadership with a top-down, company union philosophy who have been unwilling to confront management, and as a result we’ve seen nothing but concessions, corruption, and plant closures.

"While the election was close, it is clear that our membership has long wanted to see a more aggressive approach with our employers. We now have a historic opportunity to get back to setting the standard across all sectors, and to transform the UAW into a member-led, fighting union once again, and we are going to take it. The future of the working class is at stake.”


In a video posted on Twitter Saturday afternoon, Fain added: "My message to employers: The UAW is ready to fight back. That's not a threat. That's a promise."

Fain is joining other candidates on the union's International Executive Board who challenged those backed by the Administrative Caucus that had held control of the union for more than 70 years, setting up a new era for the union that members say they hope will be more transparent, responsive to their wants and needs, and aggressive at the bargaining table.

"It's members first," said Ray Jensen Jr., a Fain supporter and Local 774 trustee in Buffalo, New York, that represents workers at General Motors Co.'s Tonawanda Engine Plant. "Every executive board decision will be made with the members in mind. The leadership works for the membership, not the other way around. It'll be a ground-up organization, not just top-down. It’s going to be huge. We’re not going to get everything back in one fell swoop, but we're going to get back some stuff we lost over the years and concessionary contracts and what not."

Curry issued a statement Saturday afternoon acknowledging Fain's election.


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