United Auto Workers President Ray Curry has been on the job since 2021 – but is running for election by the full membership for the first time.
Runoff ballots are due by the end of the month in the historic election, the first in UAW’s 88-year history.
The election comes as a result of a consent decree with the federal government to settle corruption charges.
Curry took 38% in the first round of voting in December. Four opposition candidates took 62% of the votes cast. Only 11% of members voted in the first round.
One of the opposing candidates is Shawn Fain of the UAW Members United slate. In December, every one-on-one race that pitted a member of the opposition slate against a member of Curry’s slate was won by the opposition.
In a referendum last February, 64% of the vote was in favor of directly electing leadership.
Fain points out that at every chance given, more than 60% of the membership has voted in favor of a change. Curry counters that he came in first in the presidential race by more than 600 votes and anticipates maintaining a first place lead in the runoff.
“This election is about four years of candidacy, being there and directing traffic when we’re in a transformation era with regard to the automotive industry,” Curry told WDET. “And you know global pandemics have taken place, we’ve got to get it right with regard to workplace safety. No one knew what to imagine and out in place with regard to a pandemic. Now we’ve gone through one and we’ve got to put language in our agreements to ensure we protect our workforce as we move forward.”