Luis Feliz Leon

UPDATED: Reform challenger Shawn Fain has won the presidency of the United Auto Workers, the federal monitor announced today. Fain will be sworn in just in time to chair the UAW's bargaining convention, which begins Monday.

The vote count had begun March 1, but the initial tallies were so close that final results hinged on a few hundred challenged ballots. The painstaking process to check which ones were valid dragged on for weeks.

The machine will churn no more. Nearly 80 years of top-down one-party rule in the United Auto Workers are coming to an end. Reformer Shawn Fain is set to be the winner in the runoff for the UAW presidency.

As of Thursday night, Fain had a 505-vote edge, 69,386 to 68,881, over incumbent Ray Curry of the Administration Caucus. Curry was appointed by the union’s executive board in 2021. There are around 600 unresolved challenged ballots. (This story will be updated with the final vote tally when we have it.)

Lakeisha Preston speaks in acronyms. Working the phones at federal contractor Maximus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, she drops them as if they were name brands—MSP (Medicare Secondary Payee), ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) coverage, and CMN (Certificate of Medical Necessity).

As she patiently explains these terms to callers who want to sign up for Medicare or enroll in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange, Preston keeps an eye on the clock to move to the next caller in the queue.

Workers couldn’t wear a sticker or button, because what if it fell into the fruits and vegetables they packaged for the Anthony Marano Company, a major distributor of produce in Chicago and the greater Midwest for restaurants and grocery chains including Aldi’s, Sysco, and Pete’s Fresh Market?

They couldn’t do a red T-shirt day; the temperatures are frigid in the warehouse, and workers must cover themselves in layers to keep warm. But they are allowed to wear hats over their hairnets.

Reform challenger Shawn Fain appears poised to win the presidency of the United Auto Workers, defeating incumbent Ray Curry for the union’s top leadership spot. With more than 137,000 votes counted, Fain has a lead of 645 votes; the counting of the remaining challenged ballots will resume March 16.

If Fain wins, challengers to the ruling caucus will hold not only the presidency but also a majority on the union’s international executive board. UAW Members United ran on a platform of no corruption, no tiers, and no concessions.

In the first-ever rank-and-file direct election, as opposed to a vote of convention delegates, for the national leadership of the United Auto Workers, the presidential runoff is extremely close, with ballots still being counted. Challenges are expected no matter the outcome.

Lodi, an Italian-style fine dining cafe in Rockefeller Center, has what the New York Times calls “a captive audience” given its central location in a Manhattan tourist magnet. Workers at the restaurant say they’re a captive audience of another kind—for the anti-union diatribes of a highly paid consultant.

Kevin Borowske is still mulling it over after being fired last week—and evicted as of February 28. Was he a scientist with the proprietary recipe for a cleaning solution? Was he the holder of a confidential blueprint concealing the secret rooms in the condo?

Otherwise, he’s at a loss as to why the property management company FirstService Residential had him sign a non-compete agreement when he was hired as a caretaker—a job that blends janitorial and light housekeeping services—at a high-rise building in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Latino immigrant kitchen workers and a racially diverse group of women servers are on strike at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Brentwood, Tennessee. They say their employer is serving up of a toxic brew of racism and sexism.

“We went on strike to fire a manager because he is mistreating my co-workers verbally and physically,” Juan Carlos Mendoza, a barback with six years at the restaurant, told the Spanish-language news channel Nashville Noticias. “The manager is a racist… and that’s why we raised our voices.”

In the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, auto parts workers are throwing down yet again against their employer, Michigan-based VU Manufacturing, and its chosen union, the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM).

Last August, VU workers voted to form an independent union, the Mexican Workers’ League (la Liga), defeating management’s effort to impose an employer-friendly union affiliated with the CTM.