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UAW monitor publishes rules for first direct election

Breana Noble, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

The United Auto Workers' independent monitor on Wednesday published the rules for the union's first mail-in, direct election of International Executive Board members that will be held starting in October, detailing campaign finance rules and eligibility requirements.

UAW members in December voted to adopt the "one member, one vote" system over the historically used delegate system to select international union leaders. The referendum was a requirement of a consent decree reached between the U.S. Justice Department and the UAW in December 2020. The agreement followed a years-long investigation into union corruption that resulted in the convictions of 17 people, including two former UAW presidents.

The rules will leave up to delegates at a constitutional convention this summer whether the election is held with a run-off if a candidate doesn't win a majority in an initial ballot or with a ranked choice system. They allow retirees to participate in the election, though not as candidates, and detail campaign finance rules and disclosures, including addressing the use of so-called flower funds federal investigators probed as a part of their investigation.

The UAW's court-appointed, independent monitor, New York attorney Neil Barofksy, published the rule in a six-month update.

The first ballots will be sent by mail to members on Oct. 17. Members will be able to request ballots or a replacement through Nov. 11. The ballots must be received by the designated post office for collection by 4 p.m. Nov. 28. The monitor encourages members to return their ballots no later than Nov. 18. Unofficial results will be shared as soon as practicable after the election vendor begins the tabulation at 9 a.m. Nov. 29.

Active UAW members, though not retirees, will be eligible to run for the 13-member executive board. A challenge to this decision, however, is in progress. Retirees will be able to cast a ballot in the election.

 

Members will have until three days after the nominations for each officer are made during the constitutional convention being held July 25-28 in Detroit to submit a candidate declaration form with the monitor to run. There isn't a minimum threshold of support needed to get a candidate's name on the ballot, though the UAW and the monitor will vet candidates to meet eligibility requirements in the union's constitution. Prospective candidates found guilty of fraudulent or corrupt activity in court or in a UAW disciplinary proceeding are prohibited.

"The Monitor's role in vetting candidates under these criteria is purely objective — the Monitor will not opine on the suitability of any prospective candidate beyond these specific eligibility criteria," Barofsky wrote in the report.

Candidates may form a slate of allied candidates by filing with the monitor by Sept. 1. The slate will be noted on ballots, though members won't have to vote for a single slate of candidates. Candidates may be a part of more than one slate, though a slate can consist of only one candidate per office.

Every candidate, slate or covered party must have an independent bank account for election-related funds as the sole source for campaign payments. The monitor will require periodic disclosures.

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