On Friday, November 11, rank-and-file autoworker Will Lehman’s campaign for UAW president was contacted by UAW Local 1302 Vice President Sherman Gray, who wanted to report a violation of the election rules involving ballots being mailed to management. Gray said he reported these issues to the Monitor in mid-October but that the Monitor never responded.
Earlier Friday, Lehman demanded the federal court-appointed Monitor extend the deadlines to request and send ballots in the election for UAW international officers. Less than 10 percent of workers have voted so far, with the current deadline for requesting new ballots expiring on November 11. Many workers report not having received ballots and not getting a response when requesting them from the Monitor.
The following is what Gray told Lehman’s campaign:
My name is Sherman Gray, I’m the vice president of UAW Local 1302. I would like to report that management is being sent ballots in the UAW elections, and they may be voting. I’m not showing bias to any candidate, but this isn’t right and workers should know about it.
At our local, we had managers come and bring us ballots with their names and home addresses on it in October. They told us, “These just showed up in the mail, we don’t know what to do about it.” So, I turned it into the Monitor and the UAW international and asked them why management got to vote in our election and why ballots were being sent to them. I haven’t heard anything back. We gave them our personal info and asked for advice. We got radio silence. This would have been shortly after October 17 when ballots first went out.
It isn’t an isolated thing. There are reports all over of managers getting 2 ballots even. It was multiple managers who came to us with this, there are a bunch of them. It’s unfair because workers still haven’t even gotten ballots. Our committee chair had to request a ballot, and he’s been a committee chair for 15 years. It’s a mess. I don’t like it. We sit at UAW conferences, and UAW always says “the ballot box is the key,” but we don’t even get to vote for IEB office.
These managers who said they got ballots are not former workers. We thought that at first too, that it could be guys that were originally in our unit and got promoted, but that’s not the case. They were just straight-up management. And these were only the guys who came forward, I don’t know how many got ballots but did not come forward. I don’t know what happened to the ballots, either. They were returned to the local, but it’s possible they could have been mailed in by someone else.
In my opinion everyone has to vote, and it has to be fair. Ballots can’t be going out to people that are not members of the union.
That’s our dues money that’s paying the Monitor, but what are they doing? They never responded to me.
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