Over the past year, a culture of extreme corruption in UAW leadership has come to a head in the news. Leaders have allegedly stolen millions from member dues for lavish personal vacations and taken bribes directly from the Big Three auto companies. As a result, UAW now faces the threat of a government takeover by hostile anti-union forces in the Trump administration.
Unsurprisingly, the Right has taken advantage of this crisis by telling workers they should stop paying their dues and abandon the union. As socialists, we know this is completely wrong and only empowers bosses.
Thankfully, an incredible grassroots movement to democratize the union has developed through this crisis to take control of UAW and restore workers’ faith in the union. Members of Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD), a network of rank-and-file UAW members, are working to invoke Article 8 of the UAW’s constitution. If successful, UAWD will call a special convention and change the constitution so that members have a direct say in who leads the UAW at a national level, just like Teamsters, Steelworkers, and Machinists already do.
DSA unequivocally supports UAWD’s reform efforts and the rank-and-file workers fighting to save UAW. The well-being of nearly 400,000 workers hangs in the balance of this fight.
We also encourage all DSA members in UAW to join the reform movement by becoming a member of UAWD here. Members who sign up will get more information on UAWD conference calls, an in person meetup planned for the Labor Notes Conference, and materials to support the resolution for a national UAW convention in their local unions.
If you are not in UAW but want to help the democratization effort, you can support this work by identifying UAW members in your chapter or community and encouraging them to join UAWD. Union members who are interested to learn more can reach UAWD by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Labor Notes organizer Chris Brooks at email@example.com.
Lastly, don’t forget to like and follow UAWD on Facebook to get updates on the campaign!