Automobile

UAW appoints a new president who will face huge challenges after the pandemic

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Detroit – Ray Curry is taking over American Federation of Auto Workers Perhaps the most critical moment in the history of trade unions.

This American Federation of Auto Workers The International Executive Committee appointed its secretary Curry as the chairman of the union on Monday to replace Rory Gamble retired on Wednesday.

Once he takes over the 397,000-member union on Thursday, Curry will face extreme challenges in almost all directions. The American Auto Workers Union got rid of the bribery and corruption scandals that sent two former presidents to prison, and is operating under court-approved supervision, which can veto financial decisions. The members are skeptical of their leadership abilities.

As the coronavirus pandemic weakens, there are also problems with security protocols and shortages of key components such as computer chips, which have forced factory shutdowns to limit car production.

The automotive industry where most of the UAW’s highest-paid members work is undergoing a dramatic shift from internal combustion engines to internal combustion engines. electric car, Putting thousands of jobs in the manufacture of gas engines and transmissions at risk.

Detroit automakers are forming joint ventures to establish new battery A factory that the union must organize. It may try to establish a new battery factory in the south.since Electric car With fewer moving parts, automakers will need about 30% of workers to assemble them.

“I can’t even imagine that there will be more changes than we are dealing with,” said Christine De Zizek, senior vice president of the Automotive Research Center, an industry think tank in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She said that if the union cannot organize the Southern Battery Factory, it will not be able to set wages for the industry as it does in car manufacturing.

Curry, 55, has only about a year to stay away from corruption and persuade members that he will put the union on the right track. At some point before November, members will vote on whether to directly elect their leaders, rather than the current system of electing leaders by representatives of the Congress. If they agree to direct elections, they must be held before June 30 next year.

Dziczek said: “This shift now allows Curry and this team to have a good record basically a year before the start of the conference, and work with the members to understand how they will lead.”

In Monday’s statement, Curry acknowledged these challenges and said the union can deal with them.

“As new innovative technologies have undergone tremendous changes, the industry is now at a crossroads,” he said. “We will have the responsibility to navigate this huge shift in mobility and manufacturing.”

Gamble is the first black president of the union, and Curry will be the second. Frank Stuglin, 61, will succeed him as secretary and treasurer, who is now the head of the Detroit area union area.

Curry is the fourth chairman of the union in three years. He said that after the scandal, he will continue to work on transparency, reform, and checks and balances. He said he will work with Gamble to make the leadership transition smooth.

Since 2017, 11 union officials and the spouse of a deceased official have pleaded guilty to corruption investigations, including the two presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams who served before Gamble.

Former Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, who is in charge of the investigation, said that corruption is so deep that the federal government may take over the union.

But Gamble agreed with financial security and court-appointed supervisors to supervise six years of operations, as well as member elections to decide whether they want to directly vote for leaders.

Curry is not from the traditional leadership path of one of the Detroit automakers. He joined the American Federation of Auto Workers in 1992, worked as an assembler at Freightliner Trucks in Holly Hills, North Carolina, and was later promoted to Southern District Director.

According to his biography on the union website, he negotiated new labor contracts with numerous auto parts manufacturers and helped organize the Freightliner plant in North Carolina. In 2015, when the American Auto Workers Union successfully organized workers at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, he also led the union into the casino.

Curry was appointed as the treasurer at the 2018 union meeting, succeeding Jones as president. Earlier this month, Jones was sentenced to 28 months in prison in a federal prison.

Dziczek said that Curry’s organizational background and knowledge of the South may be beneficial to the union.Although it is difficult to organize Volkswagen with Nissan She said that in the southern plant, under Curry’s leadership, it successfully united parts suppliers and heavy-duty truck factories.

Curry is a senior trade union official involved in a long-term strike of 3,000 workers. Volvo Truck factory in southwestern Virginia. The workers twice rejected the six-year tentative agreement negotiated by the leaders and returned to the picket line in early June.

Dziczek said that the country is now in a post-pandemic “accept the job and push it” mentality, with workers changing or leaving. She said this may be beneficial to the organization of trade unions.

The executive committee also selected Chuck Browning, director of another area in Detroit, as vice president. He is likely to succeed Gerald Kariem, who resigned as vice president of related matters. Ford Motor Company

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