KPLU walks us through the union's history and makes the the current national union bosses sound really sketchy—holding votes on holidays, overriding local leadership, and being forced to redo the election by the Department of Labor after an investigation:
Jason Redrup is a longtime machinist and most recently a business representative in District Lodge 751. But over the years, even he didn’t pay that much attention to the process of electing new national union leaders.
“They were really not elections, per se, because they didn’t have anybody running against them,” Redrup said. “It was almost like reading the minutes. It’s like we’d get somebody to read off the list of names and they’d be nominated, and that’s the last we’d hear of it.”
But now, there is actually an election happening, and Redrup is one of the reformers running to replace the union’s leaders. Over the weekend, Boeing machinists gathered in Renton to prepare to get out the vote, each of them walking out the door with stacks of sample ballots and fliers listing the reform ticket candidates...
What’s driving the reform effort in the Seattle area is residual anger over the Boeing contract extension offer. In January, members narrowly accepted the plan that phases out their defined-benefit pension in exchange for securing production of the 777x jet.
Read the whole thing. The story explains that similar reform efforts are underway at other big unions, including postal workers, but quotes a UCLA researcher who throws cold water on their chances: "Insurgent candidates have an uphill fight, and the case of the machinists is no exception."