After years of corruption scandals and concessions to the auto industry, the UAW finds itself on the precipice of radical new leadership.

by Daniel Boguslaw, The Intercept

In a historic election that could dramatically reshape the 400,000-member United Auto Workers union, insurgent challenger Shawn Fain currently leads incumbent Ray Curry by a margin of 645 votes for the union’s top leadership role.

The election of Fain and the Unite All Workers for Democracy slate would bookend years of corruption investigations into the old guard of UAW leadership. The scandals, the insurgent faction contends, distracted from multiple major contract negotiations with America’s largest auto manufacturers and soured rank-and-file members against leadership.

People holding signs take part in a protest at the University of California Los Angeles campus

The victory would be another notch in the belt of progressive labor reformers in some of the nation’s most influential unions.

“A Fain victory is the difference between solidarity unionism — rank-and-file unionism — and the company unionism that we’ve been experiencing in the UAW for several decades now,” Scott Houldieson, a leader of Unite All Workers for Democracy, told The Intercept. “Look no further than the last set of negotiations when GM workers were on strike. There was a complete information blackout. The workers on the picket line knew what they wanted out of the contract: no more tiers, no more pensions bleeding dry, and bringing back cost-of-living adjustments. There was none of that messaging coming out of negotiations from past leadership.”

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