For years, rank-and-file members have complained that union rules stymie opportunities to nominate candidates to top leadership positions. No candidate opposing incumbent leaders and their allies has won enough endorsements to get on the ballot since 1961.
Now, after the Labor Department found some of the union’s locals violated law by making it difficult for members to vote, dissident hopefuls are stepping up to run in a new election that the federal agency will oversee early next year.
“The IAM routinely promotes themselves as the most democratic union in the world,” said Jay Cronk, who is running against longtime president Thomas Buffenbarger. “They omit the part where it’s been over 50 years since anyone actually got to vote.”