United Auto Workers’ executive board members have elected Ray Curry as the union’s next president. With the outgoing Rory Gamble set to retire this week, Curry will serve out the remainder of the term in the run-up to the UAW’s convention next year.
Curry comes to the position after serving as secretary and treasurer for the union since 2018. He takes over the presidency in the wake of a corruption scandal involving the embezzlement of union dues that saw several UAW leaders convicted.
“He’ll have to rebuild the trust of [the union’s] membership.” —Paul Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau
Paul Eisenstein is publisher of automotive website The Detroit Bureau. He says Curry has been able to avoid the legal issues that have plagued his predecessors.
“He does have ties to the scandal-plagued administration of the past,” says Eisenstein, “but he was never implicated and is seen as a very clean, forward-thinking leader.”
Eisenstein says a priority for Curry will be rebuilding the UAW’s reputation.
“He’ll have to deal with that,” says Eisenstein. “He’ll have to rebuild the trust of its membership, but he’ll also have to start setting up the union for the next round of contract talks.”
Collective bargaining with the Detroit automakers will take place in 2023. Analysts say a key issue could be securing jobs as the industry moves toward electric vehicles, which have fewer parts for line workers to assemble.