Challengers in California Grad Student Union Sweep to Power

May 10, 2011

After a bitterly contested race for the leadership of the union representing graduate students at nine of the 10 University of California campuses, the challengers, the Academic Workers for a Democratic Union, took control of the executive committee of the statewide chapter, according to the United Auto Workers, with which the chapter is affiliated. The race featured allegations of voter intimidation, ballot tampering and ad hominem attacks, and required mediation to resolve.

"The election itself and our struggle to count every vote has already transformed our union," a statement posted on AWDU's website read. "The debate and struggle were contentious. But this struggle opened up a huge new space for thousands of our members to participate in deciding how to defend our interests as a union."

Daraka Larimore-Hall, the ousted president and head of the incumbent party, United for Social and Economic Justice, issued a statement thanking supporters "in our efforts to keep things positive and issue-focused." He added: "For our part, we look forward to working with all members to continue building a strong, united, activist union at UC.”

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