The count seems to be finally finishing up in LA, numbers are being reconciled and now we’re just waiting for the final challenges to be reconciled…and for the elections committee to certify the election! AWDU statewide will send out a message as soon as there are results to be publicized.
Over the last week, we know the current leadership and some USEJ candidates have been continuing to publicize attacks against the conduct of AWDU candidates and supporters during the election and at the vote count. AWDU has not been engaging in this back and forth, we want to remain focused on ensuring that our election results are tallied and the democratic will of our members is heard and respected. The accusations that USEJ are making against AWDU are serious and concerning and we are taking every opportunity to clarify and explain our position to members in person.
But there is a larger issue here, one that gets to the heart of why AWDU’s reform movement has grown so quickly and resonated with so many of our local’s members–and why democratic reform is so needed. The current leadership of our local treats dissent like a crime. In their version of solidarity and unity, disagreements, debate and discussion are seen as attacks against the union. Anyone who has been reading USEJ’s campaign emails or interacting with some of their candidates will recognize that their primary message has been one of smearing AWDU and deflecting from our criticisms of the current leadership’s practices. What the leadership has been calling intimidation or even harassment on the part of AWDU supporters we believe has simply been members trying to discuss and confront current leadership with their concerns. Disagreement and complaint cannot be constantly attacked as hostility. A huge part of AWDU’s project is working to create union spaces where members can participate, discuss and even disagree without being attacked by leadership for doing so. This campaign has only confirmed the immediate need for such reform.
Meanwhile in LA dozens of members, AWDU candidates and supporters and have been volunteering to help complete the vote count and maintain member presence there to keep the count moving forward. Here in Berkeley dozens of members from Berkeley, Davis and Santa Cruz have been sitting down in the statewide office day and night. We’ve been organizing a statewide membership meeting for May 21st, we’ve been talking with members, media and supporters, we’ve been studying together and discussing our teaching, and all of this has transformed the space of union office. Members are actually using the union office now! The sit down and the incredible efforts down in LA have given us a glimpse of what this local could look like when members are put in charge.
If you want to see the AWDU machine in action, here’s our version of Rocky Raccoon rewritten about this election, recorded late Saturday night at the sit down.