We’re writing to express our endorsement for the recent vacancy election on behalf of the autonomous Irvine branch of the Academic Workers for a Democratic Union. Michael Briante is running against Moshe Lichman in the upcoming election on October 29th and October 30th. Both individuals have been involved in the union over the past year, however each individual represents very different traditions within the local. Michael Briante is a strong representative of the AWDU tradition, having done on the ground work in his department over the past year, and having participated in the UC Davis student movement that played such a strong role in galvanizing the public education movement in the past years. He is committed to the participatory direction of the union, and supports the contract campaign, which has transformed the negotiations into a far more participatory structure, bringing in rank and file members, allies from a variety of movements, and social justice issues into the bargaining process.
Moshe Lichman, on the other hand, is supported by the old leadership of the local who were driven out of their positions at the last election, because of their support of the conventional top-down policies of the UAW. Lichman continues to support those policies, and came out to the summer joint council meeting to show his support for a set of policies that would have placed the vast majority of bargaining during the summer when most of our membership is either off campus or working full-time in their labs. He was part of the process that discounted the need of the local to get the information necessary to bargain with the university as equals, and to involve the rank and file membership in the process of bargaining. Lichman, in many ways, represents some of the best qualities of the former leadership, and has been committed to bringing in new members, but he has shown little engagement or support for the larger social justice concerns of the local, or creating a more participatory local.
For those reasons, we support Michael Briante for the position of head steward. We need him in the Joint Council to continue to fight for a participatory democratic union that fights for social justice. Our hope is that you will come out to the polls over the past couple days, and support the continuing reform efforts in the local.
Look here for locations. http://www.uaw2865.org/?p=3806#more-%27