In national union election results announced May 9, Machinists International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger and his slate of incumbents defeated a challenge slate led by Connecticut railroad mechanic Jay Cronk.
The tally was 23,545 for Buffenbarger and 11,163 for Cronk. Portland Boeing worker Pat Maloney — one of the five challenge candidates for general vice president — was the Cronk slate’s number two vote-getter, with 12,138 votes.
Of about 550,000 eligible members, a little over 6 percent voted. It was the first contested election for the union’s national leadership in over 50 years.
The Cronk slate announced it plans to dispute the election results with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). DOL oversaw this election, which was a re-run of national officer elections held in January 2013 in which a DOL investigation found merit to complaints about election practices. The Cronk slate alleges anomalies in the re-run election voting results, and it accuses the incumbent slate of using union resources to campaign, and threatening local union leaders with termination and trusteeship if they failed to campaign and vote for incumbents. A Buffenbarger spokesperson denied the allegations.
Maloney said the challengers plan to continue, and will run again in 2017 if not sooner.