The United Auto Workers will have a new president next month. UAW’s International’s executive board unanimously elected Ray Curry president. Curry, the union’s current Secretary-Treasurer, will replace its current president Rory Gamble effective July 1.
Gamble took the helm of the influential auto workers union in late 2020 after Gary Jones resigned from the union after being implicated in a widespread corruption probe. Former UAW presidents Jones and Dennis Williams along with more than a dozen other union members were eventually convicted of embezzling money from the union.
Under Gamble and Curry’s directions as president and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, the UAW implemented a series of ethical and financial reforms, including internal and external auditing programs. Gamble also staved off a Teamsters-style government takeover by agreeing instead to oversight by an independent government monitor.
In a statement, UAW President-elect Curry credited Gamble with setting forth a model for oversight and promised to continue the effort to improve accessibility and accountability at the union.
“As president, I pledge to continue to build upon our commitment to a culture of transparency, reforms and checks and balances,” Curry said. “Rory has led us through the storm, and we are so grateful for his leadership.”
Curry noted that “massive changes in new innovative technologies” puts the union at a crossroads. Without explicitly referring to electric vehicles, which require fewer parts and fewer workers to assemble, he said it was up to the union to “navigate through this monumental shift in mobility and manufacturing.”
He also said growing membership across the UAW’s many sectors—including gaming, higher education, public health, parts suppliers and auto transnationals—as a “priority,” saying that workers and educators all over the country “deserve a voice in the workplace.”
According to the UAW, Curry joined the UAW’s Local 5285 in 1992 as a truck assembler at a Freightliner truck plant in North Carolina now owned by Daimler Trucks, NA before advancing up union leadership ranks to Region 8 director in 2014, where the UAW says he was instrumental in new labor agreements with parts suppliers and organizing a coalition with other unions to represent workers at a casino in Baltimore. Curry, a U.S. Army veteran, was named Secretary-Treasurer in June 2018.
Curry will be replaced as Secretary-Treasurer by UAW Region 1 director Frank Stuglin. In a statement, Stuglin said he hoped to bring union members’ energy to his new assignment at the UAW’s top financial position.