DETROIT — Members of the UAW have voted to give themselves a direct role in selecting union leaders, according to a preliminary count released late Wednesday.
If the vote is approved, it will set aside a long-running delegate system that has come to be seen as a catalyst for corruption involving two former presidents and other former senior union officials.
With more than 72 percent of the votes counted, 62.8 percent supported the adoption of a “one member, one vote” election system, according to the office of Neil Barofsky is a court-appointed observer.
“The total number of votes supporting the direct voting system has exceeded the limit indicating that it will receive more votes than the delegate system and will prevail, pending final ratification of the vote,” the observer’s office said. The scheduling process will continue until each vote has been counted and the unofficial results announced.
Workers voted for the change for direct election by a margin of more than 2 to 1 at the large, local Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, and about 4 to 1 at Ford’s assembly plants in Louisville, Ky. , and the Stellantis Factories of Kokomo, Ind. , and Toledo, Ohio.
Federation of American workers had until Monday to return their ballots, and 143,072 were received by the deadline. Voting is a requirement of UAW’s Settlement with the federal government more than corruption investigation Which sent 15 people, including Two former union leaders, to prison for stealing money from members.
Proponents of the direct election system, including former US Attorney Matthew Schneider, argued that it could help prevent the kind of corruption that federal prosecutors have discovered. Under the current system, the union’s top officers are often nominated by what is known as the Rother administrative caucus, usually sailing to win the quadrennial election with little or no opposition from rivals.
If approved, the change would mean UAW President Ray Curry could face a tougher path to re-election than his predecessors when the union meets next June in Detroit. Rory Gamble who retired as president A year before his term expired, Carrey chose his successor in part because he could become multi-term head.
Both Gamble and Carey expressed support for the current delegate-based voting system.