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Home MICHIGAN Candidates for UAW presidency face off in first-ever election forum

Candidates for UAW presidency face off in first-ever election forum


Candidates for president of the United Auto Workers on Thursday fielded questions from members about their plans to grow the union’s membership base, position the union for the auto industry’s transition to electric vehicles, and rebuild trust with members in the wake of a years-long federal corruption investigation.

Four challengers are vying to unseat incumbent UAW President Ray Curry:

• Shawn Fain, an international UAW administrative representative in the Stellantis Department who has been endorsed by the reform-minded Unite All Workers for Democracy caucus;

• Mark “Gibby” Gibson, Detroit Diesel Corp. shop chairperson at Local 163 in Westland;

• Brian Keller, an employee at Stellantis NV’s quality engineering center in Auburn Hills who has held local leadership positions;

• Will Lehman, an employee at Mack Trucks Inc. in Macungie, Pennsylvania.

The challengers largely sought to distance themselves from the current members of the union’s governing International Executive Board, while Curry touted reforms that have been made in the wake of the corruption scandal, ongoing organizing efforts and his experience at the bargaining table. Several of the challengers were critical of concessions the union has made in recent contracts and what they characterized as the development of a cozy relationship between union leaders and the companies where their members work.

This election marks the first in which members will vote directly on the election of international officers. Ballots are slated to go out to members starting Oct. 17 and must be returned by Nov. 28.

Experts have said the stakes are high for the election, which will occur as the UAW attempts to move past the corruption probe that’s led to numerous convictions – and as the union positions itself for a rapidly-changing automotive industry. It also comes ahead of the start next year of a new round of national contract talks with the Detroit automakers.



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