U.S. union president faces run-off election against reform candidate

U.S. union president faces run-off election against reform candidate

The newly elected United Auto Workers Secretary of State Ray Curry and the UAW Vice-President for General Motors Cindy Estrada celebrate their election victory at the 37th Constitutional Convention in Detroit, USA

WASHINGTON Reuters - United Auto Workers UAW President Ray Curry will face a run-off election against the reform presidential candidate Shawn Fain, a court-appointed monitor said on Monday after none of the five candidates captured a majority.

Fain, who wants the UAW to take a more confrontational approach to auto contract negotiations and want to end a two-tier compensation system that pays less workers less, narrowly trailed Curry in the election.

In the election, six reform candidates were elected to other officer positions. The run-off election, which determines a vice president and regional director race, could see reformers claim a majority of seats on the 14-member UAW executive board. UAW officers were previously elected through a delegate system. Members approved direct election in a 2021 referendum, which will be part of a 2020 U.S. Justice Department settlement to resolve a corruption probe.

For more than three decades, all UAW officers have come from an administrative slate of candidates.

Curry has been a UAW member since June 2021, and has been a member of the UAW since 1992.

Fain has been a UAW member for more than two decades, serving as an officer at a local in Indiana representing workers at a Stellantis casting plant and an international representative.

The UAW has about 375,000 U.S. members.

This is our attempt to put the power and control of our union back in the hands of the membership by electing leaders who will be held accountable by the membership, Fain said.

Curry said the new board will be sworn in on December 12. Curry said board members have spoken, and he is confident that they have a vision of strengthening our great union. Labor contracts with General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler-parent Stellantis expire in late 2023, and this week workers will vote at a joint venture battery cell manufacturing plant in Ohio on whether to join the UAW.

A number of UAW officers pleaded guilty to embezzlement of millions of dollars for their personal benefit, using the funds for liquor, cigars, golf outings and expensive hotel stays, including two former presidents.

FCA US, the North American operating subsidiary of Stellantis, pleaded guilty in 2021 to making $3.5 million in illegal payments to UAW officers and paying $30 million in fines.