SAN JOSE, Calif. — United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5 here said it has agreed to hold a new election next year under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Labor — an election in which Ron Lind, president of the local since 1979, said he will not stand for reelection.
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Under a settlement agreement between Local 5 and the government, the local will conduct a completely new nomination and election process that it expects to complete by the end of June. In a letter to the membership obtained by SN, Lind said he will not be a candidate and plans to retire at the end of 2014, which he noted will coincide with his 60th birthday.
Lind also said in the letter that next year's election will not be a rerun of the September 2012 contest but a completely new election for president, secretary-treasurer, recorder and 31 vice presidents.
The call for a new election resulted from a challenge to the 2012 election results by some members of Local 5, who alleged violations in the election process — a challenge endorsed last January by Joseph T. Hansen, president of the UFCW International, who ordered a new election be held after a union investigation revealed that "allegations related to the use of union equipment and on-the-clock campaigning were found to have merit ... [and] may have impacted the results."
Although Hansen ordered that the new election be held no later than March of this year, Local 5 appealed the decision to the U.S. Department of Labor, which allowed several postponements. The DOL said its settlement agreement with Local 5 to hold a new election "is not intended ... as an admission that UFCW Local 5 or the UFCW International Union violated" election rules.
Read more: UFCW Orders New Election for D.C. Local
In the letter to the membership, Lind said the local "could have continued to refuse settlement and [could] likely have prevailed in court or at least delayed finality for an additional six months or so. However, that path would have resulted in significant legal cost to the union and would have prolonged the uncertainty that has plagued us for the last 18 months."
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