Bieber Re-Elected; Two New Vice Presidents Chosen
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ The leader of a United Auto Workers union dissident group lost a bid Wednesday to stay on the union’s International Executive Board, and the man who defeated him said the dissident movement is dying.
Jerry Tucker, director of the St. Louis-based UAW Region 5, lost a re- election bid to Roy Wyse, a member of Local 249 in Kansas City, Mo. In sometimes-noisy regional caucus balloting, Wyse received 438.351 votes and Tucker got 233.627.
Tucker, who became a regional director last year in a federally supervised election, said he had not decided whether to go to court to challenge the convention delegate elections that led to Wednesday’s vote.
Wyse said delegates from the eight-state region ″saw through the New Directions movement. They saw they had questions but no answers.
″I think it’s the beginning of the end for the New Directions movement.″
The blow was the latest Tucker’s forces have received at the convention, which concluded Friday. Delegates rejected three New Directions-backed resolutions; at no time did New Directions get more than an estimated 20 percent in the show-of-hands votes.
UAW President Owen Bieber, who ran the Region 5 caucus and the Tucker-Wyse election, said afterward that he was happy with the results.
There was a possibility that New Directions forces could attempt from the convention floor Thursday to have the delegate elections set aside.
Earlier Wednesday, Bieber and his slate of national candidates were declared elected to lead the 1 million-member union after no other candidates were nominated. The election showed endorsement of the policies Bieber has charted since becoming UAW president in 1983.
The election came during the fourth day of the union’s weeklong triennial constitutional convention. The Anaheim Convention Center was festooned with balloons, signs and UAW members sporting buttons, hats and jackets emblazoned with their candidates’ names.
Tucker’s movement has been pressing Bieber and the Administration Caucus he leads to dump recently enacted joint labor-management agreements. It’s the most serious challenge to union leadership in 40 years since the early days of Walter Reuther’s 24-year tenure as UAW president.
″This group was perhaps better organized than (dissident) groups of the past,″ Bieber said during an impromptu news conference Wednesday.
But Bieber said he expected the UAW to emerge united from the convention. ″There has always been ample room to debate the issues,″ he said.
Joining Bieber in the union’s leadership ranks as vice presidents were incumbents Stephen Yokich and Odessa Kommer. The delegates elected two new vice presidents: Stan Marshall, director of UAW Region 1C in Flint, Mich., and Ernie Lofton, director of Region 1A in a part of metropolitan Detroit.
The delegates also re-elected UAW Secretary-Treasurer Bill Casstevens.
Each officer will serve a three-year term. None of the candidates faced any opposition.
Incumbent vice presidents Donald Ephlin and Marc Stepp are retiring.
Bieber also will assign the vice presidents to head the union’s various departments, including one for each of the Big Three automakers and another with administrative responsibility for agricultural implement and aerospace workers covered by the union.
Yokich was expected to succeed Ephlin as the head of the General Motors Department, the union’s largest; Lofton to follow Yokich at the Ford Department; and Marshall to succeed Stepp as head of the Chrysler Department.
Kommer, the union’s most senior vice president, will remain in charge of a variety of smaller departments.
After the nominations of Bieber and Casstevens, delegates staged an hour- long demonstration in which they paraded across the dais, shaking hands with the two leaders.