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UAW reboot: Cloud hangs over auto union

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Curry is expected to focus on that message this week as he seeks nomination for his first full term in office. He replaced Rory Gamble, who retired, last year in part with the goal of bringing longer-term stability atop the union.

In the past, the multiday convention culminated in the virtually uncontested election of the current leadership’s hand-picked slate of successors. This year, that election will occur in the fall because workers approved a referendum to implement a new system that gives each member the power to vote directly.

Despite the new election system, damning monitor report and a recent investigation of Curry — he was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing in relation to use of tickets he received as a gift — union observers say he remains the favorite to stay in office.

“There’s a huge advantage always in any political race for the incumbent,” Art Wheaton, director of labor studies at Cornell University, said in an interview. “Getting that name recognition for the initial vote will be difficult [for other candidates] but for the subsequent years, it gives people the opportunity to become more well-known in the union.”

Others seeking nomination include Brian Keller, a Stellantis worker who is active on social media and previously ran against former President Gary Jones with little support. Shawn Fain, an international administrative representative in the UAW’s Stellantis department, also intends to run.

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