Editor’s note: WDET reporters are members of the Professional and Administrative Union, Local 1979, UAW.
The UAW corruption scandal has set off a firestorm, and its blazing its way through union leadership, relationships between automakers and into contract negotiations.
The fallout has some former union officials publicly calling for wholesale change within the UAW.
One of those former officials is Frank Joyce, who served as the union’s public relations director from 1990 to 2002. He has called on every member of the UAW’s International Executive Board to resign amid the scandal.
“I think that corruption is a symptom of the deep problems that have been long in the making,” says Joyce. “I think this is really an opportunity for the UAW to reinvent itself into the kind of union that workers need heading into the year 2020. Workers needs unions more than ever, that’s pretty clear.”
“So, my perspective on this is to see it not just as a chance to clean house, which certainly needs to happen, but to really think ahead, not backwards, and what does the UAW need to be for its members and for the larger community going forward?” he continues.
Joyce says he thinks the UAW could consider reaching outside its own ranks for new leadership
“Why shouldn’t [Congresswoman] Rashida Tlaib be the next president of the UAW?” he asks, also suggesting Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost a race for governor in Georgia, or Heather McGhee of Demos as other people the union could consider.
“What kind of message would that send, not only to union members, but to the larger community that, yes, we are now stepping up to the realities of 2020?”