UAW Prepares To Choose New President Ahead Of Internal, External Challenges

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

This week, the United Auto Workers will select a new president to take up where outgoing president Bob King will be leaving behind in the wake of a crushing loss in Tennessee, low but growing membership rolls, and dwindling budgets.

The Detroit News reports that the 1,100 delegates meeting at Cobo Hall in Detroit for the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention will likely choose union secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams as the UAW’s new president, which would make him the first president not to have worked in an automotive factory if chosen.

Whomever the president will be, they will inherit the work King has put into protecting the union while fighting to expand its presence in the United States, particularly in Southern states such as Tennessee and Mississippi. Though membership is nowhere near the peak of 1.5 million in 1979, the outgoing president boosted current rolls 11 percent to 391,415 during his four-year term through recruiting workers in auto supply, gambling and higher education. King also focused on bringing more jobs and capital investments to the auto industry as a whole, shoring up the future for the next president.

In the present, the UAW will also vote on whether to increase dues for the first time since 1967 to 2.5 hours per month to help replenish the union’s strike fund, currently holding at $630 million from a peak of $930 million in 2006. The members will also face a battle at the ballot box in November as many pro-union Congressional legislators are up for re-election, and may need to join up with social justice activists on a global scale to show those casting a dim eye that the UAW is more than an industry-focused organization.

As for King, who has been in a leadership role with the union since the early 1980s, he plans to remain active in the labor movement, though has no current post-UAW plans at this time.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jun 02, 2014

    I would really like to see the demise of the UAW. How much money is used by the workers and taxpayers to support a group of individuals who's only aim is to destroy US industry. Another example of wasted resources in the US when it can afford it. The UAW should move to another country, ie, China or Russia. The Chinese and Russians support most of the UAWs ideals. It was only a couple of decades ago that many Union officials globally went to Russian 'Union Schools' to learn how to be a good Socialist.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Jun 02, 2014

    What are the reasons to have a union represent workers anymore? I'm not intending snark - I just don't understand why unions are wanted or by some folks' characterizations, needed.

  • Ltcmgm78 Imagine the feeling of fulfillment he must have when he looks upon all the improvements to the Corvette over time!
  • ToolGuy "The car is the eye in my head and I have never spared money on it, no less, it is not new and is over 30 years old."• Translation please?(Theories: written by AI; written by an engineer lol)
  • Ltcmgm78 It depends on whether or not the union is a help or a hindrance to the manufacturer and workers. A union isn't needed if the manufacturer takes care of its workers.
  • Honda1 Unions were needed back in the early days, not needed know. There are plenty of rules and regulations and government agencies that keep companies in line. It's just a money grad and nothing more. Fain is a punk!
  • 1995 SC If the necessary number of employees vote to unionize then yes, they should be unionized. That's how it works.
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