Five hopeful candidates in the UAW Local 2865 were denied candidacy in an election that would have taken place this coming week.
Some of those hoping to run for office in the union mistakenly sent their intent to run to the incorrect e-mail, accidentally responding to an e-mail rather than sending it to an entirely different address. Others were not eligible due to rules pertaining to how long one must be a member in UAW before running in an election. UAW Local 2865 is a union representing graduate student readers, tutors and teaching assistants in the UC system.
“I think it’s pretty ridiculous that they’re not allowing people to run whose full intent was to run in the election, and we just made the mistake of replying to the wrong e-mail. We replied to a UAW 2865 e-mail, but it wasn’t the right one,” said Jessy Lancaster, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz, who had hoped to run for Trustee.
However, the UAW office argues that while these hopeful candidates did send an e-mail to UAW, they still did not follow proper election procedures.
“It’s very important that we have a clear set of rules that are transparent and that are applied equally in every case. It wouldn’t be fair to the membership to pick and choose who has to follow the rules and who doesn’t,” said Daraka Larimore-Hall, northern California vice president of UAW Local 2865 and graduate student at UC Santa Barbara.
The election that these candidates hoped to run in has now been cancelled, as everyone running against members of the union’s reform movement, Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU), have withdrawn. Following other election issues, many reformers and members of AWDU see this recent election drama as another example of how the UAW has become less democratic.
“I think it still shows that we have a long way to go to make our union an inclusive and thus more powerful organization to stop the cuts, the fee hikes and the power grab by UC executives,” said Charlie Eaton, graduate student at UC Berkeley and AWDU member.
The issue was taken up with the UAW elections committee, where it was decided that the candidates had not stated their intent to run in the correct way and thus should not be allowed to run.
However, some argue that while they may not have sent the e-mail to the exact e-mail address that was specified, they did tell the UAW they intended to run.
“They essentially complied with what the nomination announcement asked for, which was that they send it to the union office by fax, e-mail or mail, and they did so by sending it to the e-mail that they received the nomination from in the first place. All of the e-mails go to the same place, they all go to the union office,” said Eaton.
However, Larimore-Hall continued on to say that while perhaps the e-mails do all go to the same place, the hopeful candidates didn’t comply with the clearly stated rules for filing for candidacy.
“It’s very, very important that we collect the information on who is running in a timely and organized way. It’s not reasonable to expect the elections committee to chase down every e-mail that goes to any UAW e-mail address, which is why there is a single e-mail address that was clearly related in instructions for filing as a candidate,” he said.
Eaton went on to support the candidates who were denied the right to run, but also highlighted the idea that the reformers are faced with many other issues.
“While I insist these candidates should have been allowed on the ballot, and think they should still be put on the ballot, we are really focused on organizing for the March 2 Day of Action against the budget cuts and the fee hikes,” Eaton said. “We’re also organizing to deal with the work security and the workload problem that are hurting graduate students and undergraduates alike.”
HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.