Judge Says He Will Order New UAW Region 5 Election
DETROIT (AP) _ A federal judge said Monday he will order a new election in the contested race for director of United Auto Workers union’s eight-state Southwest region, ending part of a 21-month legal battle.
″It’s a victory for the people in Region 5 who’ve had to operate without a legally elected director for 21 months,″ said Jerry Tucker, who lost by two- tenths of a vote to incumbent Region 5 director Kenneth Worley in the August 1986 election.
Judge Richard Suhrheinrich of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan heard arguments from attorneys for the U.S. Department of Labor, the UAW and Tucker, assistant director of Region 5 who was fired after he announced plans to run against his boss in May 1986.
Tucker is the leader of a dissident group within the UAW called the New Directions Movement, which has called for less cooperation with companies that are forcing workers to compete with each other for jobs.
The Labor Department investigated the contest and called for new elections after it found some votes at the convention were cast by illegal delegates.
It also found that Worley spent $13,000 in union money on jackets bearing his name, which were distributed at the UAW constitutional convention where the delegates voted, and sent out campaign fliers typed with a UAW typewriter on UAW stationery in a UAW office.
Labor Department attorney Janet Graney, who argued three lawsuits the department brought against the UAW concerning the election, said such uses of union money and equipment for the campaign of an individual are illegal.
″I’m going to order a new election. There have been substantial uses of union facilities″ for Worley’s campaign, Suhrheinrich said, adding that he would issue a formal order in two weeks.
The UAW declined comment until it receives the order. The union has said it is willing only to run some of the delegate elections over.
In a new election, 68 local unions in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado and New Mexico will again choose 650 delegates who will vote for the director of Region 5 at a mini-convention.
The elections will not affect terms of local union officials.
Suhrheinrich did not say how he would rule on one of the Labor Department suits, which charges Tucker was illegally fired, or on a suit brought by Tucker demanding reinstatement and payment of lost wages and benefits.
Tucker’s attorney, Joseph Yablonski, and the Labor Department argued that Tucker was fired illegally because the UAW constitution allows international union staff members to run for union office.
They also argued that the rule used to fire Tucker, which requires staff members running for office to take a leave of absence 90 days before the election, was never properly adopted by the union’s leadership or by the rank- and-file.