Voting Irregularities in U.A.W. Prez Election Alleged – Amazon Labor Union Prez Won’t Internal Elections – UK Amazon Unions Continue to Strike

Incumbent UAW Prez Ray Curry (left) is claiming that election irregularities occurred in a tight election between him and Shawn Fain (right).


Greetings from Washington, D.C., where I am filming a documentary on the dramatic increase in child labor violations in the U.S. 

Voting Irregularities in U.A.W. Prez Election Alleged

Neil Barofksy, the federal monitor of the U.A.W., is expected to decide in the next few days whether to certify the results of the recent union election for U.A.W. President. Currently, Shawn Fain leads by approximately 500 votes. 

However, big questions about voting irregularities in the elections. If voting irregularity, a revote could be ordered. Ray Curry has filed a complaint with the federal monitor, stating that thousands of U.A.W. members did not receive the ballot. His complaint alleges that some didn’t receive ballots even after requesting them from the federal monitor. 

If the federal monitor finds that Curry’s complaint is valid, they could order another election to be held. 

Fain’s camp has signaled they would protest any decision to reorder a vote. Brian Keller, who endorsed Fain in the runoff, stated that union members should protest outside of U.A.W. halls if the vote is not confirmed. 

“We need this election to be done today and we need Shawn Fain to be sworn in,” Brian Keller stated publicly this week. 

Regardless of the outcome, whoever takes over the U.A.W. will likely face a very divided union and many internal battles. The Detroit Free Press has a long look at plans by Fain’s camp to purge U.A.W. staffers. 

Amazon Labor Union Prez Chris Smalls Won’t Allow Internal Union Elections

Last month, Payday Report received much heat for a piece critical of how Smalls abandoned an organizing effort without input from those members. 

A new expose raises troubling questions about the lack of union democracy within the Amazon Labor Union. From the New York Times: 

Before the meeting in December, Mr. Smalls oversaw changes to the union’s constitution that restricted worker input in certain ways. Most notably, the document on file with the U.S. Labor Department, delayed leadership elections that were to take place within a few months until after the union ratified a contract, a process that can take years if it happens at all.

“Going forward, here’s the structure,” Mr. Smalls said at the meeting, according to a recording shared with The Times. “If you can’t abide by this structure, that’s the door.”

Most of the volunteer organizers in the room walked out, according to a half-dozen people in attendance. Mr. Martinez, the longtime organizer, said he had told Mr. Smalls: “Chris, I cannot support this constitution. We are not leaving the A.L.U. by any means, but we do not agree with this.”

For more, check out the New York Times. 

U.K. Unions to Continue to Strike Against Amazon 

Over in the U.K., unions say that they are going to continue to strike despite Amazon offering to raise their pay by a half-a-pound. 

“We’re listening to Amazon workers and the message is very clear: this new pay rate is an insult,” G.M.B. union representative Amanda Gearing told Bloomberg. “In response we will be consulting over the next few days and announcing a new wave of action.”

For more, check out Bloomberg. 

N.Y.C. Union Members Petition for Referendum on Medicare Advantage 

In New York, many members of the United Federation of Teachers, who are upset about the union switching to a Medicare Advantage plan for its retirees, are petitioning to hold a referendum on whether the switch should be accepted. In order for the referendum to be held, 19,000 union members, or 10% of the union’s membership, would have to vote for it. 

The City has more: 

One teacher and union opposition organizer was steamed when Mulgrew boasted in a Feb. 28 interview with Gotham Gazette’s Max Politics podcast that he would make no further health care concessions in a new contract — but meanwhile continues to advocate for a health plan switch, whose effects will be felt far into the future.

“For Mulgrew to say that savings are not mandatory and then to plow ahead with a very controversial Medicare Advantage plan that we all know is predicated on mandatory savings, and sold as so, is illogical and duplicitous,” Daniel Alicea, a public school teacher and lead organizer of Educators of N.Y.C., the activist opposition group of U.F.T. members that published the petition, said at the time.

For more, check out the City.

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. 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]

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