(Adds election totals)
By Alwyn Scott
NEW YORK May 9 The International Association of
Machinists and Aerospace Workers, one of North America's largest
industrial unions, re-elected its leaders by a two-to-one margin
on Friday, the union said.
The decision ends the first serious challenge to the
leadership of the union, known as IAM, in more than 50 years,
and signals a shift away from the challengers' reform drive.
Members "overwhelmingly rejected an effort to move this
union backwards and we now turn our full attention to moving the
IAM forward," IAM International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger
said in a statement.
The challengers said they planned to dispute the results
with the U.S. Labor Department. They questioned the validity of
thousands of votes and alleged the incumbent leaders intimidated
voters and used union funds for campaigning.
"We intend to ask the Department of Labor to investigate
these serious violations, through every avenue available to us,"
said Jay Cronk, who ran for international president against
At stake in the election was the leadership of 332,000
dues-paying union members, including about 32,000 Boeing Co
workers and others in jobs as diverse as airline ticket
agents, wood workers and lobstermen in Maine.
Members cast 23,545 votes for Buffenbarger compared with
11,163 for Cronk. General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr
was also re-elected with 23,828 votes received compared with
10,690 for challenger Dale Cancienne.
The eight vice president positions up for grabs all went to
incumbents, though three of them were also listed on the slate
of reform candidates.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; editing by G Crosse and Paul Simao)