I thought I would write a brief posting about the results of the recent triennial elections for my former local, UAW 2865. At the statewide level, it was an immense success for the AWDU ticket. AWDU and their allies won all of the executive board seats, along with 80% of the Joint Council. I have to admit that I was very skeptical of their chances, but we saw some impressive organizing, and new reform slates arise in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside that were previously doubtful. A lot of credit should go to the activists involved who had to both negotiate a contract and win an election. In terms of the bargaining team, they won in San Diego, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Davis. Despite losing in Santa Barbara, we saw the first substantial reform ticket run for election there, and they had a fairly respectable showing, bringing in about 30% of the vote. Merced saw a split vote between reformers and admin caucus activists, despite a lack of reform candidates running for local positions. Riverside and Irvine were much more lopsided, giving landslide victories for the former leadership, who are often referred to as the administration caucus, despite their frequent re-namings. Riverside had a small core of reformers, who have a good chance to impact the local despite their small numbers.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Irvine, which had no substantial reform effort on the ground during the election. Part of that was due to the admittedly very successful efforts on the part of Coral Wheeler and Moshe Lichman to put together a decent full slate of candidates, and to construct an electoral machine. I might not like the kind of union infrastructure that they create. It's hierarchical and not directed to creating an active membership, but it is good at getting votes out at specific times. My hope is that we see some of the reform tradition taken up by the new officers of the local, but I have to admit, I hadn't seen much activity out of them during the contract campaign. The other part was due to the decision of reform activists to put their energy into other organizing endeavors, and move away from union organizing. It wouldn't have been my choice, but I'm also no longer involved. (edit: I'm also not sure that my feelings on the matter are terribly relevant.) I also can't blame those individuals for wanting to find forms of organizing that are less frustrating and more meaningful to them. Having been through the last triennial, I can't blame folks for wanting to avoid that ordeal. I really hope they find those collective efforts. (additional note: I should note that there were Irvine reform folks involved in the successful election efforts at UCLA.)
As a last note, I genuinely hope that we see a continued effort on the part of the new elected officials to actively contribute to the fight for a new contract. I suspect a number of them could be very good union representatives. But if that effort doesn't happen, I would recommend that folks take up those tasks themselves. Get a hold of me if that is the case, and I will get you in touch with people who can help you. (I also strongly suspect that despite not running for office; we'll see Irvine reform folks at the front of the contract fight.)