UAW Sec-Treasurer Demoted in Fight over Organizing Funds – Washington’s Largest Union Urges “Uncommitted” Vote – Accomplice to Marielle Franco Has Been Arrested

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock was demoted from her leadership positions by the UAW International Executive Board (Michael Martinez/Automotive News)

Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where an accomplice of Marielle Franco’s assassin has been arrested, but first some breaking news from Detroit.

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Demoted in Fight over Organizing Funds 

Earlier today, the Detroit Free Press broke the story that UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock, the running mate of Shawn Fain this year, has been demoted from many of her leadership positions within the union. Now Payday Report has learned more information about why she was demoted. 

Payday Report has learned through interviews with UAW insiders, some of whom have been critical of the Fain regime, that Mock was demoted following her refusal to spend money on organizing in the non-union South. 

Last week the UAW International Executive Board voted to spend $40 million on organizing for the next two years in the South.

In the past month the UAW has announced that a majority of union members have signed up at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Mercedes in Vance, Alabama. In addition, the union has publicly announced an organizing drive at Hyundai in Alabama. 

UAW leaders also complained that she needed to be more competent and faster at processing regular requests for money that UAW departments needed, which made it difficult for department heads to operate. 

While reluctant to spend more money on organizing in the South, Mock decided to spend money to decorate her office in the UAW’s headquarters at Solidarity House. Two UAW International Executive Board members have since referred Mock’s actions for investigation to the federal monitor overseeing the UAW, Neil Barofsky. 

By a vote of 11-3 of the UAW executive board, Mock was stripped of many of her department leadership positions, except for those positions stipulated in the UAW’s constitution. 

Mock, though, has denied any wrongdoing.

“When policies are established by the UAW International Executive Board, and/or by the special monitor ordered by the court to oversee the UAW, and/or by federal agencies, it is my responsibility when these policies concern UAW finances to diligently make sure these policies are adhered to,” Mock said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press. “While it saddens me even further that I get criticized, attacked and retaliated against because I insist on the policies that are in place be adhered to, I will not waver in enforcing financial policies intended to protect our members’ sacred dues dollars.”

The Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD) caucus, which backed Mock for election as Secretary-Treasurer in 2023, countered in a Facebook post that members who doubt the accusations against Mock should request the full minutes of the UAW’s International Executive Board meeting last week. 

UAW Communications Director Jonah Furman, who Payday previously criticized for helping to cover up sexual misconduct in the NewsGuild, did not return requests for comment. 

Send Payday the Minutes of the UAW’s International Executive Board Meeting

Payday Report has covered criticism of a lack of union democracy within the Fain regime, including the hiring of a controversial Brooklyn-based union consultant and ordering GM workers back to work without them ratifying a contract. (A GM union contract that passed by a narrower margin than the strike settlement was passed in 2019 under the old regime). 

Following the popularity of the “Stand Up Strike” against the Big Three, the UAW has an unprecedented opportunity to organize auto plants throughout the South. 

Union democracy depends on accurate information, and every union member has the right to know what their union leadership is doing. Under the UAW’s constitution, any union member can request the meeting minutes. 

Send minute meetings or any tips about the UAW’s plans to [email protected] 

Accomplice in Marielle Franco Case Arrested in Rio de Janeiro 

Earlier this month the federal police in Rio de Janeiro announced that Ronnie Lessi, a former Rio military policeman who assassinated Rio City Councilwoman Marielle Franco in 2018, had been cooperating with authorities in the federal investigation into her murder. 

Now the federal police have announced that they have arrested an accomplice in the murder, Edison Barbosa dos Santos. According to a report released by the federal police, Barbosa dos Santos helped to dismantle and destroy identifying parts of the car used to assassinate Marielle, including the license plate. 

The arrests come as the Brazilian federal police have promised to release a report on who killed Marielle Franco by the end of March. 

For more, check out EXTRA

Help Cover 6th Commemoration of Marielle Franco’s Death on March 14th

March 14th will mark six years since Marielle Franco was assassinated, and there are many commemoration plans here in Rio de Janeiro. 

There will be events throughout Rio to commemorate her murder, including a music festival in downtown Rio. We plan to film it to both present news segments for our readers and as footage for our documentary Marielle Vive.

Since last August I have been working on a feature-length documentary about her entitled Marielle Vive on how she continues to inspire activists throughout Brazil. 

As many of you know, both Marielle Franco and I studied in the sociology department together at PUC-Rio in the mid-2000s. This documentary means a lot to me, and I appreciate your support. 

Donate to help us film on March 14th as we continue to work on Marielle Vive. 

Washington’s Largest Labor Union Urges “Uncommitted” Vote in Primary 

Earlier today, NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald broke the story that UFCW Local 3000, the largest union in Washington State, with over 50,000 members, is urging members to vote “uncommitted” in the state’s Presidential primary on March 12th. 

The union says it is not confident that Biden can beat Trump, given the President’s support for the war in Gaza. The union is urging an “uncommitted” vote to push President Biden to change his stances on the war in Gaza. 

“Currently, many voters, and UFCW 3000 executive board, feel that the best path to have the best nominee, and to defeat Trump, is to vote ‘uncommitted,'” the union said in a statement to NBC News. “The hope is that this will strengthen the Democratic Party’s ultimate nominee to defeat Trump in the General Election in November.”

For more, check out NBC News. 

Wash. State Bill to Give Unemployment Benefits to Striking Workers in Limbo 

Last month, the Washington State House passed a bill of 53-44 that would give unemployment benefits to striking workers in Washington State. Now, the bill is slated for debate in the Washington State Senate. 

However, if the bill does not pass the State Senate by March 1st, the state legislature would have to start the whole process over again next month. Union workers rallied in the state this week to pass the bill. 

“There’s no credible strike threat if we’re going to starve to death, or lose the house over our heads in the meantime,” Tom Bosserman, a Starbucks worker from Everett, said at a weekly rally.

For more, check out the Seattle Times

5,000 Anheuser-Bush Workers Win $4-an-hour Raise

Finally, over 5,000 Anheuser-Busch workers had been preparing to strike tomorrow. However, the Teamsters announced they had reached a deal with the beer manufacturer yesterday. 

The deal includes an immediate $4-an-hour raise, which would increase to $8-an-hour over five years. It also ends a two-tier healthcare system at the beer giant and allows for more than a maximum of 8 weeks of vacation for some workers. 

The deal also includes job security provisions that the union said were tougher than previous ones, but the union did not release the legal terms of the agreement. 

For more details, check out HuffPost. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere

Alright yinz, that’s all for today. Keep sending tips, story ideas, complaints and comments to [email protected] 

Donate to help us film the 6th commemoration of the assassination of Marielle Franco. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 773 recurring donors today. Thanks again for all the support. 

Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]