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USEJ Candidate Against Further Embarrasment

21 May

This Letter is a Repost from THOSE WHO USE IT

Dear colleagues, comrades, and members of the UAW 2865,

My name is Matthew Luckett, and I am the recording secretary-elect for UCLA and a candidate for sergeant at arms in the recent UAW 2865 union election. As a member of the United for Economic and Social Justice caucus, I supported the outgoing administration’s strategic approach to bargaining, as well as the contract we’ve recently ratified. I am also proud of my slate and the campaign we ran, which I believe was mostly fair, honest, and positive, in spite of the election’s heated and divisive tone. However, I am stunned by my caucus’s decision this past weekend to reject the results of the Executive Board and Joint Council election, which we lost by several hundred votes, and to call for a new election.

Although some members of the USEJ slate have valid concerns, there is not enough evidence to justify the disenfranchisement of the thousands who voted several weeks ago and reject wholesale the results of the election. As the UCLA Graduate Students Association has pointed out, both sides are guilty of tit for tat challenges and breeches of protocol (which are inevitable, since we only run these elections once every three years, and few of us have much experience with the process). However, when all of the challenges are counted up, any suspicions of malfeasance will rightly or wrongly fall on the administration caucus, whose candidates are believed to have the most to lose. In other words, if anyone is believed to be guilty of fixing the election, it is us. Therefore, any accusations of illegality against AWDU need to meet an extremely, perhaps impossibly, heavy burden of proof in order for us to avoid being seen as sore losers. Our case needs to be airtight and above reproach, and even the GSA and the Huffington Post must be forced to admit the veracity of our claims. This particular case, however, is not convincing to me. And if I (as someone who has a lot to gain from a new election) am not convinced, then I cannot believe that public opinion will rule in its favor. If anything, I fear that public opinion will come crashing down against it.

Barring the discovery of a smoking gun that proves electoral misconduct, any effort to invalidate the election is sure to backfire. Even if the challenge is won and another election takes place, I will have serious doubts about our union’s ability to win the voters’ trust and confidence that their votes will mean something. Moreover, I will doubt our union’s ability to marshal a united front against the UC during the next round of contract negotiations. As leaders of the union, we must always put the students we serve and their interests above our own, and I am not convinced that this decision was made with those students’ interests at heart.

The first election was a positive event in the long term, even if the results weren’t what we hoped for. Over three thousand students decided to spend anywhere from a few minutes to several weeks of their time participating in a high-stakes, exciting election for the heart and soul of our union. However, the divisions between USEJ and AWDU also generated a lot of hostility and resentment, and these wounds will take time to heal. Thus, given the bad blood and conspiratorial paranoia that has existed among members of both caucuses since the election, I am afraid that a second election will destroy this union.

If our local is important enough to USEJ that they are willing to run once again through the political gauntlet, then its efforts should be devoted towards bringing our union back together. As the fight against the Board of Regent’s proposed 40% tuition hike intensifies, we must not think of ourselves as members of a particular caucus, but as workers united against budget cuts in Sacramento and TA cuts in our home departments.

Finally, on a personal note, I am tired of this election. Many of the other candidates are tired of this election. In fact, I believe that most of the candidates and the vast majority of the voters are ready to move on with their lives and begin the business of rebuilding solidarity within this union. I lost my race for sergeant at arms; it is over. I conceded defeat three weeks ago. I will not wage another campaign for a race that I feel I lost fair and square, and I am having a difficult time empathizing with anyone who is ready to kick off another round.

Thus, in light of all that we’ve been through during the last few weeks, I call on the USEJ to drop its demand for a new election and to pass the torch to AWDU. Likewise, I call on AWDU to refrain from responding to this call with any retaliatory efforts to disenfranchise any of our own voters, so that we may begin to put this election behind us once and for all. Together, we must start fighting on behalf of the rank and file members with a common purpose and a shared resolve.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” In this growing hurricane of budget cuts, ballooning deficits, and corporate schemes to privatize our public universities, the union is the only shelter we have against the storm. So, rather than taking a sledgehammer to the roof, let’s all try to weather it together.

In solidarity,
Matt Luckett
UCLA Recording Secretary-elect, USEJ

Also from UCLA, a recent letter by graduates displeased with the fact that Sayil Camacho was a candidate when her eligibility status did not allow it.

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Challenged!

16 May

It seems like our Cinco de Mayo challenge was answered, although not very clearly. As you probably already know, all challenges brought up during the final vote count were declared “unsolvable” by the UAW Local 2865 Elections Committee, which certified the election after having counted all the votes. Now the USEJ caucus, which chaired most of the seats in the Executive Board before loosing them all to AWDU during the latest election,  has presented a challenge seeking to declare null and void the election results after their attempts to stall and later halt the vote count failed (Read Here). Amongst the charges against AWDU candidates are “acts of intimidation” and “inviting other union representatives” to campaign meetings. However, after carefully reading and re-reading the accusations and the bylaws we have come to the conclusion that most of these itemized lists are still fairly ambiguous since they merely present accusations, most without evidence, some backed by anonymous entities or “testimony” or parties otherwise benefited in the election themselves (USEJ candidates).

Also, everything in the accusation is badly written and/or explained with non-sequitur information. (Perhaps the most telling indication that these people are not in school).

Ultimately, as Those Who Use It and UC Rebel Radio have already pointed out, some of these challenges are baseless.

Here is a response by the UCLA Graduate Student Association.

Pero, honestamente, ¡¿qué?!

Seriously, USEJ-ers and their supporters should reflect on their actions when legitimate questions regarding fraud in a previous election were brought up to them. But, alas, this is not about getting even or pointing out bad grammar,  it is about getting democracy, about being transparent and allowing for the union to represent the membership as the membership wants to be represented. We anticipate that AWDU will take the accusations seriously and submit them to process even though they will serve to prove nothing.

Lies cannot bring about the disenfranchisement of one of the biggest voter turnouts in the history of the UAW Local 2865.

The people have spoken.


AWDU Statement on Historic Win

8 May

For a copy of the UAW Report on the Election visite the UAW LOCAL 2865 webpage.

We are excited to announce that our votes have finally been counted and our reform slate has won nearly 60% of positions on our UAW 2865 union Joint Council!  The 80-member Joint Council is the highest elected body of our union with representatives from every campus.

55% of voters also cast their ballots for our Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) reform slate for the UAW 2865 Executive Board – electing our candidates to all 10 positions on the Board, including President.  The Elections Committee has certified these election results as true and fair.

The election itself and our struggle to count every vote has already transformed our union.  The debate and struggle were contentious.  But this struggle opened up a huge new space for thousands of our members to participate in deciding how to defend our interests as a union.  Turnout in the election increased to about 3,400 votes from just a few hundred votes in the last Triennial Election for the Joint Council and Executive Board.

The struggle to count the votes also deepened member involvement in our union.  Last Saturday, when three members of the election committee halted the vote count, abandoning the ballots of 1500 members regardless of their votes, UAW members spoke up.  Thousands of members wrote letters, signed petitions, and made phone calls to demand that the votes be counted.  Members organized to guard the ballots that the statewide officials abandoned in the UCLA office.  Members rallied, marched, and sat-down at the UAW statewide office.  It was an unprecedented display of member power and the result was the resumption of vote counting by the statewide officials.

Now it is time for us to bring this strength to our fight against the attacks on higher education.  As a next step, we are calling on all graduate students and undergraduate tutors – no matter who they supported in the election – to come together for a statewide membership meeting of the union on May 21st to chart the way forward.  We’ll get you more details soon.  But high on the agenda is stepping up the fight against increasing class sizes, fee hikes, rising housing costs, new budget cuts, and UC management’s capping of funding for fee remissions and health benefits for graduate student employees.

We will stand together against the attacks on higher education, in real unity borne of fruitful discussion that includes disagreement.  A grassroots, bottom-up union is strong when it provides space for open debate, and we hope that every member continues to express criticism when necessary.  We also know that many members of the USEJ slate and many USEJ supporters never wanted to stop the vote count in the first place.  We hope that the Elections Committee’s dismissal of the fabricated allegations by some of the outgoing union officers will help up us begin a more honest dialogue with each other.

The incredible diversity of our newly elected Joint Council and entire union is a vital strength that we must actively build upon.  By working together, including with the new Joint Council members from USEJ, we will win historic advances for the rights of student-workers and the expansion of public education.  We look forward to building a new kind of union together.

In Solidarity,

Molly Ball, English – UC Davis – Outgoing Campus Recording Secretary
Justin Clement, History – UC Davis – Campus Unit Chair-Elect
Tim Gutierrez, Sociology – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect
Brenda Medina-Hernandez, History – UC Davis – Trustee-Elect
Andrew Morgan, History – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect
Tom O’Donnell, History – UC Davis – Candidate for Head Steward
Nickolas Perrone, History – UC Davis – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Brian Riley, Education – UC Davis – Graduate Student Association Chair
Blake Ringeisen, Biological Systems Engineering – UC Davis
Jordan Scavo, History – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect
Jessica Taal, Education – UC Davis – Head Steward-Elect

Chima Anyadike-Danes, Anthropology – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect
Jordan Brocious, Physics – UC Irvine – Sergeant-at-Arms-Elect
Ben Cox, Anthropology – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect
Cheryl Deutsch, Anthropology – UC Irvine – President-Elect
Anne Kelly, Earth System Science – UC Irvine – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Seneca Lindsey, Earth System Science – UC Irvine – Head Steward-Elect
Nick Seaver, Anthropolgy – UC Irvine
Bron Tamulis, Political Science – UC Irvine
Natali Valdez, Anthropology – UC Irvine
Robert Wood, Comparative Literature – UC Irvine – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

Carolina Beltran, Spanish & Portuguese – UCLA
Ginny Browne, Urban Planning — UCLA
Mindy Chen, Social Welfare – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Will Clark, English – UCLA
Erin Conley, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Yu-ting Huang, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Renee Hudson, English – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Dan Lichtenstein-Boris, Public Health – UCLA
Dustianne North, Social Welfare – UCLA
Alexei Nowak, Comparative Literature – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Jeremy Schmidt, English – UCLA – Candidate for Unit Chair
Hadley Theodara Suter, French – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Julia Tomassetti, Sociology – UCLA – Candidate for Recording Secretary
Zachary Williams, Political Science – UCLA – Candidate for Head Steward
Elise Youn, Urban Planning – UCLA

Chris Carlson, Mathematics – UC Riverside – Steward-Elect
Elliott Kim, History – UC Riverside – Southern Vice President-Elect

John Armenta, Communications – UC San Diego – Candidate for Campus Recording Secretary
Muni Citrin, Communications – UC San Diego
John Higgins, Literature – UC San Diego – Candidate for Campus Unit Chair
Megan Turner, Literature, UC San Diego

Olivier Dufault, History – UC Santa Barbara
Sunny Lim, History – UC Santa Barbara
Jeb Sprague, Sociology – UC Santa Barbara

Josh Brahinsky, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Erin Ellison, Psychology – UC Santa Cruz
Rachel Fabian, Ocean Studies – UC Santa Cruz
Michelle Glowa, Environmental Studies – UC Santa Cruz – Head Steward-Elect
Donald Kingsbury, Politics – UC Santa Cruz
Jessy Lancaster, Psychology – UC Santa Cruz – Outgoing Campus Recording Secretary
Brian Malone, Literature – UC Santa Cruz – Outgoing Campus Unit Chair
Mark Paschal, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz
Jeb Purucker, Literature – UC Santa Cruz
Sophie Rollins, Literature – UC Santa Cruz
Jeff Sanceri, History – UC Santa Cruz – Graduate Student Assembly President
Trevor Joy Sangrey, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz
Sara Smith, Labor History – UC Santa Cruz – Northern Vice President-Elect
Anika Walke, History of Consciousness – UC Santa Cruz
Mary Virginia Watson, Politics – UC Santa Cruz – Campus Unit Chair-Elect

Amanda Armstrong, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Matt Bonal, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley
Rachel Brahinsky, Geography – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Shane Boyle, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Dan Buch, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Chris Chen, English – UC Berkeley
Kfir Cohen, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley
Mandy Cohen, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley – Statewide Recording Secretary-Elect
Rob Connell, African-American Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Alex Dubilet, Rhetoric – UC Berkeley
Alex Dumont, English – UC Berkeley
Charlie Eaton, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Financial Secretary-Elect
Barry Eidlin, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Eli Friedman, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Pablo Gaston – Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Jessie Hock, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley
Nick Kardahji, History – UC Berkeley – Trustee-Elect
Sarah Knuth, Geography – UC Berkeley
Katy Fox-Hodess, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Zachary Levenson, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Munira Lokhandwala, Film – UC Berkeley
Katherine Maich, Sociology, Berkeley
Callie Maidhof, Anthropology – UC Berkeley
Larissa Mann, Jurisprudence & Social Policy – UC Berkeley
Daniel Marcus, Art History – UC Berkeley
Micki McCoy, History of Art – UC Berkeley — Head Steward-Elect
Blanca Missé, French – UC Berkeley – Guide Elect
Megan O’Connor, English, Berkeley
Aaron Platt, Sociology – UC Berkeley
Manuel Rosaldo, Sociology – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Gustavo Oliveira, Geography – UC Berkeley
Chris Schildt, City and Regional Planning – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Jessica Smith, Chemistry – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
John Stehlin, Geography – UC Berkeley
Cate Talley, French – UC Berkeley
Alex Tarr, Geography – UC Berkeley
Jennifer Tucker, City and Regional Planning – UC Berkeley – Campus Unit Chair-Elect
Daniela Urban, Law – UC Berkeley
Megan Wachspress, Jurisprudence & Social Policy – UC Berkeley – Campus Recording Secretary-Elect
Josh Williams, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley – Head Steward-Elect
Brandon Wolf, Performance Studies – UC Berkeley

On the history of our current struggle.

8 May

There is a brief history/review of the relation between the NO-VOTE campaign of the new UAW Local 2865’s contract and current struggles to democratize our union at the following link:

http://thosewhouseit.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/ucla-awdu-member-outs-admin-caucus-for-pattern-of-outright-dishonesty-and-manipulation/.

AWDU does the inverted Lakers dance in Los Angeles and sweeps E-Board Elections*

8 May

Well… we’re not sure about the first part of that headline, but the rumor at Those Who Use It is exactly the second part.

Huh?

CONGRATULATIONS AWDU FOR AN AWESOME CAMPAIGN!

(Now lets get to work.)

*If you want to be technical and go with the sweep theme, we guess you would also have to count the recent Giants’ sweep of the Rockies…

A letter from Yuting Huang, an AWDU supporter at UCLA.

6 May

Hi all, just some small stuff that I wrote. I am going to try to get
some sleep now.

We are very tired.

We are tired from sleeping on the office floor for the fifth night,
only to make sure of the integrity of the ballots. When no attempts
whatsoever had been made from either the current administrations of
UAW 2865 or the candidates from USEJ (many of whom serve as current
staff and leaders) to attend to the boxes, we took it upon ourselves
to guard the two locked doors 24/7 because we respect the members who
voted and we want their ballots to be counted.

We do not know whether counting the ballots will win us the election.
Given how heavily outnumbered I was when campaigning at certain
polling locations at UCLA, I personally do not think I will win a
position. But this is an election, and counting the votes is what we
should do. To do that, we must secure the integrity of the ballots.
That is why we are doing what we are doing. We do not understand why
the current leadership never made any attempt to secure the ballots. I
believe they owe the voters the responsibility to secure the fairness
of the ballots.

But while we struggle to do the job of the election committee
neglected to do, everyday we wake up to yet another public slander on
our friends from the current president of UAW 2865. They are slanders
that use shiny keywords with immediate effect and little content, but
they hurt, deeply.

I started the campaign talking to members on campus what we envision
to be a better union. I was ecstatic to hold long conversations with
students across the campus who share my concern for the budget cuts
and the same devotion to our students. But four o’clock in the morning
last Wednesday, the night after the first election day, I found myself
writing a response to accusations of racism targeted at my slate. At
noon on the same day, I found myself outside math science building,
bewildered, trying to tell voters that we do not hate scientists, if
ever the four canvassers from USEJ were not physically blocking me
from getting near the voters. Today, I found myself reading another
email from the UAW president telling me I am probably an intimidating,
harrasing thug since I am an AWDU candidate.

I am five feet five, Asian, an international student, and a woman. I
am indeed a humanities student, but I teach at least 10 science
students every quarter in the past 6 quarters. I never thought of
emphasizing any of these things because I am not running for identity,
I am running for a vision of a democratic union.

I care to win only because I think the campus deserves a more involved
union. But if the strategy to win requires public slanders and
personal attacks, I do not care to win enough. I refuse to dance
around their accusation and provocation any longer. I have never
called anybody names, and I am not about to start. I will not stop
fighting for public education, and it will just be a pity if I am not
able to be involved in the union.

All my friends in AWDU share the same sentiment, and I am deeply sorry
for my friends whose name have been thrown about in careless
accusations.

On the Cinco de Mayo Challenge

5 May

According to UAW Local 2865 Presidential candidate Daraka Larimore-Hall’s latest post/rant, the “shut[ing] down or cancel[lation]” of “balloting locations” “without notice” is sufficient grounds to invalidate the entire vote cast by the workers of an institution represented by the UAW. In other words, it is not the voter’s fault, but who cares?

The rumor is USEJ is challenging every UC Berkeley box again.

UCGRADSTRIKE hereby challenges both sides (USEJ and AWDU) to make public their challenges and reasons for challenge so that the public may understand just what kind of nonsense is really taking place inside that little room to which only a few are allowed entrance.

And, by “challenge” we do not mean to negotiate for a general statement, we want itemized lists, challenge by challenge.

Ballots will be counted!

4 May

As you may have heard, counting of the ballots will resume on Thursday, Cinco de Mayo, 2011 @ 9:00 a.m. at the UCLA UAW Union Office in downtown Westwood.

This is a victory for democracy.

(We understand that you may by now have heard from many sides regarding the events taking place at the vote counting last weekend, but we would like to direct you to what we believe is an unbiased account of the events @ UCLA’s GSA website and this other story on the newly AOL-ized Huffington Post).

The profile of the uncounted

3 May

 On top of having a very popular u-stream channel, the uncounted ballots have just set themselves up on Facebook. They have also released a flyer.

They really do want your attention…

An accurate election update: Open letter to the UAW 2865 membership

3 May

An accurate election update

Open letter to the UAW 2865 membership

Dear colleagues,

I am a graduate student in Environmental Science, a current GSI in Physics and the Berkeley representative on the UAW 2865 Elections Committee. As a participant in last weekend’s vote counting in Los Angeles, I found the latest ‘Election Update’ sent to members to be inaccurate, or at least misleading. I hope to provide here some new information that you wouldn’t find in this election update or in the numerous partisan e-mails.

It is true that there were a “large number of challenges presented by candidates and their representatives on both sides of the election contest”. That was on Friday, the first day of the count. On Saturday morning, the Election Committee convened and decided that none of these challenges prevented the counting of ballots from proceeding.

The most misleading claim of Travis Knowles’ Election Update is the following: “The reason we took this action is that there was no way to properly assess the challenges being made by both sides because of the level of hostility in the crowded ballot count room on Saturday night.” There was definitely commotion and hostility in the room on Saturday night, but only after the decision to suspend the count.

On Saturday afternoon, we had the most productive phase of the whole counting process. Election Committee members, with the collaboration of challengers from both sides, counted the votes from four campuses in six hours. At that pace, Berkeley and UCLA’s ballots would have been counted in another six or seven hours. Chair Travis Knowles suggested that we take a break and reconvened at 7pm. Election Committee members and challengers waited for his return until 8pm. At his return, he made a snap motion to halt the count, and then adjourned the meeting.

Finally, I want to put on the record that the decision to suspend the count before UC Berkeley and UCLA ballots were counted was not approved by a majority of the Election Committee. (UC Merced ballots were also not counted, but only because they were never brought to the ballot count in LA.) The motion was made in haste by Chair Travis Knowles, was not discussed or debated, and was considered passed after being approved by only three out of six committee members present in the room. The member from UCLA was absent at the time of the vote. The members from Riverside, Santa Cruz and myself were blindsided and had no time to process what was happening, let alone participate in the vote. The three Election Committee members who approved this action promptly left the room, leaving the rest of us in the middle of the commotion their surprise motion had created.

As an Election Committee member who was literally left behind, I have yet to hear the real reason why the count was suspended that night, why half the committee was not consulted before taking this course of action, and why the plan set by the whole committee in the morning was not followed. If you also have questions about this, you can send them to elections@uaw2865.org . I hope that no matter what is your campus or political affiliation, your voices will be heard and you will receive answers.

Sincerely,

Philippe Marchand

Berkeley representative to the UAW 2865 Election Committee