DETROIT — UAW President Ray Curry, who trails as the final votes are being counted in the union’s first direct election of leadership, has filed a protest saying thousands of members were disenfranchised and that the winner of one regional director race was ineligible.
Curry’s team, in a statement Friday, said there are “a number of significant issues that have come to light recently that call the election into question and require immediate investigation.” Curry trails challenger Shawn Fain in a runoff that has been unsettled for two weeks while officials work to verify more than 1,600 challenged ballots.
Fain has all but claimed victory in the race, which is being overseen by the federal monitor that was a condition of the UAW’s corruption settlement with the Department of Justice. The monitor has not released an update on the vote count, but Fain’s camp, which has observers in the room where the tally is happening, said he leads by 505 votes with fewer than 600 challenged ballots left.
“By now the writing is on the wall: Change is coming to the UAW,” Fain said in a statement late Thursday.
Curry, meanwhile, argues that “tens of thousands of ballots” were returned to the union as undeliverable and questioned whether the monitor’s office made “all reasonable efforts” to ensure those members could vote.
Curry also is calling into question the validity of Daniel Vicente’s victory as director of Region 9, which represents workers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Curry argues that Vicente was not able to run because he had not paid the dues necessary to be a UAW member in good standing until after the original November vote.
Curry also says campaign rules were not consistently enforced and that campaign donations to his opponent came from employers with whom the union has a bargaining relationship, which would be against the rules.
“All members of the UAW deserve to know that this election is untainted as they enter one of the most crucial periods in their union’s history,” Curry’s team said in its statement. “There must be certainty and above all confidence in the voting process during this crucial time.”
Curry’s camp did not publicly raise any concerns about the first round of voting, when he narrowly led Fain but did not receive a majority, or during the two-week halt to the runoff vote count, though Curry had previously complained about some donations to Fain’s campaign.
Fain’s Unite All Workers for Democracy reform slate is on pace to win every seat it contested. Already, five UAWD candidates have been installed on the union’s International Executive Board, along with another reform candidate who ran as an independent. Vicente and Fain would give reformers a majority on the 14-person board.