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As vote deadline approaches, supporters of Mack Trucks worker Will Lehman oppose voter suppression by UAW apparatus

The deadline to mail in ballots in the UAW election to ensure that they are counted is in one week, November 18. The deadline for requesting a ballot is November 11. If you have not received a ballot, go to uawvote.com and request one immediately. For more information on Lehman’s campaign, visit WillforUAWPresident.org.

Supporters of Mack Trucks worker Will Lehman took his campaign for the United Auto Workers presidency again to the Stellantis Warren Truck Plant Thursday amid reports that significant numbers of eligible UAW members have not received ballots.

The campaign team distributed a copy of a letter sent by Will Lehman to the court-appointed UAW Monitor, who is overseeing the election. The letter pointed to reports of election irregularities and demanded action by the Monitor to ensure workers have the right to vote. The letter reported that the Lehman campaign has received reports from many rank-and-file workers concerned over the fairness of the election.

Lehman noted that official UAW vote tallies showed that only just over 80,000 UAW members had voted so far, less than 8 percent of the eligible membership. He said that the low vote indicated the vast majority of UAW members did not know there was an election, that they are eligible to vote or because they have not received a ballot.

Supporters of Mack Trucks worker Will Lehman campaign at Stellantis Warren Truck Plant on November 10, 2022. [Photo: WSWS]

This takes place as the UAW Monitor reports that incumbent UAW President Ray Curry used union resources to campaign, in violation of election rules.

Reports have also surfaced that some UAW officials have been deceiving temporary part-time (TPT) workers by telling them that they are not eligible to vote. In fact, all UAW members, including retirees, can vote in the first direct membership election for top UAW officers.

A worker at the Stellantis Warren Truck Assembly Plant told supporters of Will Lehman, “I live in Sanilac County [80 miles north of the plant], and I didn’t get my ballot. I called the Monitor a week ago, and they told me it would take seven to 10 days. I haven’t gotten it.”

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John said, “Will thinks the way I always thought the UAW should be when I was growing up in Flint, where the sit-down strikes took place. But it’s a totally different corrupt union now. I just know that Will’s got my vote for the way I thought the UAW should be all the way all along. It should be one for all, not three for one. It is frustrating working next to someone making twice your income; and it’s still not enough income, even for the Tier One guy. You should be able to support your family on a 40-hour check.”

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Terrell said, “I am for Will because he is the only one saying anything different. If you keep doing the same thing and it has the same result, that’s insane. So why would I keep doing it?

“I don’t fear the word socialism, I fear capitalism, but Will is including everybody. Workers need to check socialism out—it is not the boogey man that they have been led to believe.”

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Another Warren Truck worker Tom, who had reported that he had not gotten a ballot, said, “I went on the link on October 29 to request a ballot, and I still have not gotten one in the mail. So, I don’t know.”

Asked what he thought about an election in which many workers do not get ballots, he replied, “You want my honest opinion? This whole thing is corrupt, it should be fixed. They don’t care about us, they only care about themselves. That’s what happens when you get lifetime appointments, there is no accountability. They just do what they want, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

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Asked about Will’s call for the abolition of the UAW bureaucracy and the transfer of power to workers on the shop floor, he said, “I’ve read a little bit about him. He might be a good choice, he’s a second-tier worker and understands where we’re coming from. The UAW should be rebuilt from the ground up. There should never be a lifetime appointment because this is what you end up with. That is only common sense, but they think we’re too dumb to realize what is going on.

“You can get a part-time job at CVS as a cashier and make more than what you start out here. Isn’t that sad? This ain’t never been about solidarity. Maybe back in the day when everyone was getting good things, way back in the day. Why does it take us four years now to get all our money? For what reason, other than corruption?

“In 2010, I went through the whole process to get hired. But they were selling applications for $1,000 each, and I never got in. So, I lost all this seniority. I got good friends of mine who were telling me they were paying the union $1,000 to get their kids in here.

“It’s about them getting paid and getting rich. Like all these houses they built in California off our dues. They should have to sell them and give us our money back.

“It would be so much better if we all struck together—GM and Ford, the whole UAW—these companies would have no choice but to come in. You know what kind of economic damage that would do to the whole country? We could move as one, but they don’t want us to move as one.”

Workers who have not gotten their ballots leave their information with Lehman campaigners [Photo: WSWS]

Working in collusion with the UAW, Stellantis recently announced the elimination of the third shift at Warren Truck. The cuts impact some 1,215 jobs, and many supplemental workers are being transferred to other plants or seeing their hours slashed.

Another Warren Truck worker, Ebony, said, “I voted for Will because we need change. Start from the top, and I think he is a great candidate, and I think he is going to do good. Our TPTs are not getting rolled over; a lot have been here over two years and are still not rolled over. And they cut the third shift,” she said, expressing support for Will’s fight to defend all jobs.

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Other Detroit-area autoworkers contacted supporters of Will Lehman, responding angrily to reports in the Detroit News that the Curry team was illegally using UAW resources to advance its campaign.

A worker at Jefferson North Assembly said, “With all this corruption by the Curry team, why isn’t the Monitor doing anything about that? I thought it might be a fair election, I guess not.

“They are putting this corruption in your face. There was a time when they hid it, and no one knew. The UAW is paying for a Monitor, and it doesn’t seem like he is monitoring much.

“I was taken aback. This isn’t the first thing Curry has done. That gives him an advantage over the other candidates. He doesn’t have to punch in every day like Will, that gives him another advantage. It seems rigged.

“I thought Will did a really, really good job explaining himself in his video. People are not afraid to speak out.”

If you have not received a ballot, go to uawvote.com and request one immediately. For more information on Lehman’s campaign, visit WillforUAWPresident.org.

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