DETROIT — Members of the United Auto Workers union appeared on Thursday to favor replacing many of their current leaders in an election that stemmed from a federal bribery and embezzlement scandal involving former union officials.
Reform-minded candidates, many part of the UAW Members United slate, are leading in multiple key races with just over 56% of the vote in. Many challengers campaigned on rescinding concessions made to companies in previous contract talks, including cost-of-living pay raises, elimination of a two-tier wage and benefit system, and other items.
That could raise costs for Detroit’s three automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — and almost inevitably will drive up already expensive auto prices.
With tallies from five of nine UAW regions counted, Shawn Fain, an international union official who started at a Stellantis plant in Kokomo, Indiana, was leading a five-candidate field in the race for president, the union’s top office.
Fain had 40.1% of the vote, while incumbent President Ray Curry was second with 36.3%. There likely will be a runoff election early next year between Fain and Curry since neither had a majority of the votes.
In the race for three vice presidents, Rich Boyer and Mike Booth, both Members United candidates, are first and second in an eight-candidate race, followed by union Vice President Chuck Browning. A runoff could happen there, too.
Margaret Mock, the Members United candidate for secretary-treasurer, had 63.9% of the vote to lead incumbent Frank Stuglin at 36.1%. Where tallies have been completed, candidates who campaigned on reforming the union also won three of nine regional director positions, with another heading to a runoff.
It wasn’t clear when the vote count would be finished. The ballots are being counted by a company hired by a court-appointed monitor who is overseeing the election and the union.
Fain led the Members United ticket, which campaigned on reforming the 372,000-member UAW after the scandal. The election also has broad implications for contract talks with the Detroit auto companies that start next year.
Fain has advocated for more of a confrontational stance and has accused union leadership of complacency. He has said the UAW has had a philosophy for 40 years of viewing automakers as partners rather than adversaries.
He hasn’t declared victory but said in an interview Thursday that the early vote totals are “a loud and clear message to the companies and the…