Despite the continuing scandal that has damaged the United Auto Workers’ reputation, the administration caucus, which has filled every top elected office for decades, is keeping its tight grip on power within the union.
In the latest test of the caucus influence, Wayne Blanchard, a long-time caucus loyalist, easily won a seat on the union’s executive board due his election as director of UAW Region 2B, which includes more than 50 UAW locals.
UAW Region 2B is home to a diverse range of industries including autoworkers at Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler and many of the companies that supply parts to the Big Three.
In addition, Region 2B members also include beer brewers, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, parts suppliers, county employees and food service workers.
Other groups represented include office and professional workers, musical instrument manufacturers, engineers, warehouse workers, janitorial professionals and casino employees.
In addition, UAW 2B members work in aerospace, casting operations, distribution centers and other industries.
Blanchard won close to 90% of the votes, according to an informal tally, beating two challengers. David Green, one of the two challengers, who stressed the need for an independent voice on the union’s executive board, acknowledged the election wasn’t close, “I wish him well,” Green told the TheDetroitBureau.
The UAW Constitutional procedure made accommodations for Ohio and Indiana social distancing guidelines by conducting meetings among local union convention delegates at five sites connected remotely. Region 2B has had a vacancy since the resignation of Rich Rankin earlier this summer.
Before being appointed acting director, Blanchard had served as assistant director, a job he had earned through service on the union’s staff — and loyalty to the administration caucus, some contentd. He became acting director after Rankin resigned after being accused of sexual harassment.
As Blanchard joins the board, the investigation by federal authorities continues to roll forward.
Former UAW President Dennis Williams is now preparing to plead guilty Sept. 30, to charges of conspiracy linked to the embezzlement of more than $1 million in union funds, according to federal court records.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice continues to consider placing the UAW under federal supervision and demand the union change its constitution to allow for the direct election of top of officers.