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Challenger wins United Auto Workers presidency vowing reforms

2023-03-25T19:53:14Z

An American flag flies in front of the United Auto Workers union logo on the front of the UAW Solidarity House in Detroit, Michigan, September 8, 2011. Rebecca Cook//File Photo

Shawn Fain narrowly won the race as United Auto Workers president, narrowly defeating the current union head Ray Curry in a shakeup for the Detroit-based union.

Curry said in a statement Fain will be sworn in Sunday, a day ahead of the start of the union’s bargaining convention.

Fain has vowed to take a tough line in contract talks with the Detroit Three automakers.

On Saturday, Fain said in a statement the “election was not just a race between two candidates, it was a referendum on the direction of the UAW. For too long, the UAW has been controlled by leadership with a top-down, company union philosophy who have been unwilling to confront management, and as a result we’ve seen nothing but concessions, corruption, and plant closures.”

Fain has been a UAW member for more than two decades, serving as an officer at a local in Indiana representing workers at a Stellantis NV (STLAM.MI) casting plant.

The UAW won a key victory in December, when workers at an Ohio General Motors (GM.N)-LG Energy (373220.KS) battery cell factory voted to join the union.

Fain added Saturday in the statement “while the election was close, it is clear that our membership has long wanted to see a more aggressive approach with our employers. We now have a historic opportunity to get back to setting the standard across all sectors.”

UAW officers previously were elected through a delegate system. Members approved direct elections in a 2021 referendum required as part of a 2020 Justice Department settlement to resolve a corruption probe which resulted in the incarceration of two former UAW presidents.

The UAW has about 375,000 U.S. members, down from 1.5 million in 1979.

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