For more information on Will Lehman’s campaign, visit WillforUAWPresident.org.
U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson issued a ruling late Wednesday that dismisses a lawsuit filed by UAW union presidential candidate Will Lehman. Lehman was calling for a one-month extension of the UAW election period and other measures that seek to guarantee the right to vote for all workers.
The decision came a day after closing arguments on Tuesday in which Eric Lee, Lehman’s attorney, made the powerful argument that the rights of Lehman and all UAW members were violated because the UAW and the court-appointed comptroller failed to properly notify UAW members and ensure they received the ballots. Barely 10 percent of workers have voted by mail so far, and the overall turnout is expected to be below 15 percent by the November 28 deadline.
Lawson’s decision is dishonest, intellectually corrupt and, as with all such cases, shows a complete disregard for the democratic rights of UAW workers.
Lawson, senior judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, sided entirely with the UAW apparatus and the court-appointed monitor, who jointly argued against the lawsuit, as did the Department of Labor, which submitted an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief opposing Lehman.
At one point in the decision, Lawson acknowledged the importance of Lehman’s complaint and the serious doubts about the legitimacy of the election. Lehman, he writes, “claims that the methods chosen by the union leadership to inform and distribute the ballots are inadequate because the membership as a whole was not made aware, which resulted in low turnout. in direct elections. These grievances are certainly serious and should raise concerns that a less than comprehensive response from members could portend electoral results that are not truly representative of the will of the voters”.
However, the fact that ninety percent of UAW members – or 900,000 workers – did not vote in the election had no bearing on Lawson’s decision, which was based on the narrowest technical questions, interpreted in such a way as to make any challenge to the conduct of the elections impossible.
The court ruled that Lehman had no “substance to pursue” in this case, because “he suffered no personal injury capable of being corrected under” Title I of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, under which Lehman brought the complaint.
According to Lawson, the appropriate place to argue that the election is unfair and illegitimate is the United States Secretary of Labor, i.e. the Biden government. Such a call could only take place after the election has taken place and would be made to a government that has fully supported the UAW apparatus involved in muzzling voter turnout.
Lawson decided that Lehman had “no grounds for prosecution” because he himself received a ballot, sidestepping the issue of every UAW member’s right to participate in a fair and legitimate election entirely. He largely ignored arguments made by Lehman’s attorney, Eric Lee, during Tuesday’s hearing. Lee argued that Lehman, like all UAW members, suffered “personal harm” by not being able to participate in a “meaningful election” because many members were unaware or unaware of it. not received a ballot.
Lawson also quickly dismissed numerous statements submitted in the lawsuit, including three affidavits signed by workers who claimed they had not received ballots and that most of their colleagues did not know that an election was taking place.
The judgment repeatedly refers to the “remarkably low voter turnout” in the election, but it deemed legitimate what it calls the “comprehensive description” provided by the UAW apparatus of the measures it is supposed to have taken to ensure that all members are informed of the election and provided with a ballot.
This section of the decision was largely copied from the UAW brief. Lawson wrote that the UAW “posted articles on its website”; “posted ‘numerous’ posts about the election” on Facebook; sent just under 3,000 posters to local UAW chapters; “issued two regular newsletters distributed to financial secretaries of all locals urging them to update membership information in the union’s Local Union Information System (LUIS) database”; and “sent a letter to all local chapter managers” reminding them to update LUIS.
All of these actions actually came to nothing, relying entirely on the UAW apparatus itself. As Lee pointed out on Tuesday, neither the UAW nor the Comptroller has provided evidence that union locals have actually taken steps to ensure their membership lists are updated and that all workers receive a ballot.
During Tuesday’s hearings, Lawson commented on the nature of the LUIS system, which the UAW and the Comptroller have acknowledged was originally set up as a communication mechanism between locals and the International, not to distribute information to all members.
“The communication between the International and the locals,” Lawson said Tuesday, “kind of excludes the members.” However, none of this was addressed in the judge’s decision.
The judgment also ignored the fact that during Tuesday’s hearing it emerged that the Comptroller, whom Lawson himself appointed, had been grossly negligent in his oversight of the election, relying entirely on statements verbal statements from the bureaucracy that it was conducting the election properly.
Regardless of Lawson’s technical and jurisdictional justifications, the decision is entirely aimed at confirming the legitimacy of what is clearly a flawed election, ensuring that only a small percentage of members, dominated by bureaucracy and its entourages, vote on the leadership of the UAW.
(Article published in English on November 24, 2022)