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Federal judge orders USW local to hold new election

Keywords: Tags  United Steelworkers union, USW, USW Local 1104, election, Labor Department, Dan Voorhees, Republic Steel, U.S. Steel James S. Gwin


CHICAGO — United Steelworkers union Local 1104 in Lorain, Ohio, has been ordered to re-run an election of certain leadership positions April 9.

The U.S. Labor Department brought a complaint last October seeking to void the results of an April 3, 2012, election, claiming the union local improperly required that candidates had to have attended at least one third of the previous year’s union meetings. That requirement, which the local had waived in the past, disqualified 95 percent of the local’s members from seeking office.

USW Local 1104, which represents workers at Canton, Ohio-based Republic Steel and Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp., responded that it had conducted the election adhering to its bylaws and the constitution of the international union, and denied that any violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act occurred.

U.S. District Court Judge James S. Gwin accepted a settlement negotiated by the Labor Department and USW Local 1104, and ordered the union to hold new elections for president, three trustees and two guards. The only candidates eligible to run are those who accepted nominations for those six offices a year ago and were either elected or declared ineligible to run due to the meeting attendance rule.

USW Local 1104 president Dan Voorhees, who now faces a new election, said the judge’s order followed the local union’s settlement proposal made last July and discussed during a December case management meeting with the Labor Department.

"The local’s actions (regarding the 2012 election) were the result of the unanimous support of membership and were obviously in line with the election manual of the (union) constitution, rules that govern democratic structure," Voorhees told AMM. "There was no wrongdoing whatsoever."

The union local settled, however, because "we need to concentrate our time and resources on where they should be spent: doing what’s best for membership in the collective bargaining arena," he said.

There is no certainty that Voorhees or any other elected officer will retain their posts.


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