Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on UAW runoff election

Feb. 28 was the deadline for ballots to be received in the runoff election that will determine the UAW’s future president, but it was already clear days beforehand that more union members had returned their ballots than in the first go-around in the fall. Marick Masters, a business professor and labor expert at Wayne State University who has been watching the election process closely, said the election results should have a profound impact going forward. "This is a watershed moment for the UAW. There is a chance that the dissident faction represented by the (UAW Members United slate) may take a majority of the International Executive Board if they win two of the three outstanding elections this week ... but regardless of the outcome, the dissidents have captured enough of the International Executive Board to affect greatly the 2023 bargaining and also to bring about a cultural change within the UAW," said Masters, referring to contract talks scheduled to get underway this year between the UAW and General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, which includes the former Chrysler-related brands. The winners, however, will have major challenges ahead, Masters said, pointing to structural problems in the auto industry and the difficulty for the UAW of organizing in areas where it has struggled to date and in new areas involving electrification. He also referenced the work needed to unite the union, to prepare for bargaining, to comply with the independent monitor and to rebuild the confidence of the public. Regarding the current runoff election, Masters said he expects a close contest. He'd give the advantage based on organization during the campaign to the Curry-led slate and the advantage from an enthusiasm standpoint to the Fain-led slate.

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