The UAW said Monday that Ray Curry, its current Secretary-Treasurer, will succeed Rory Gamble as president of the union after Gamble steps down on Wednesday. Curry has long been seen as the favorite.
“It is a great honor for me to serve this historic union and the more than 1 million active and retired members,” Curry, who will be the union’s second Black president, said in a statement on Monday. “I am so proud of our UAW sisters and brothers who work every day to better not just their own lives, but the lives of their neighbors and communities. As president, I pledge to continue to build upon our commitment to a culture of transparency, reforms and checks and balances.”
Curry first joined the UAW in 1992 as a truck assembler at a Freightliner plant in North Carolina, according to a biography on the UAW’s website.
Curry was elected president by the union’s International Executive Board, in the same kind of process that federal authorities have criticized and one that may or may not be on the way out soon. That is to say he was not directly elected by the UAW’s members. As part of an agreement to avoid a federal takeover, however, later this year the union will ask its members — which number over 400,000 — whether they want to amend the UAW’s constitution to directly elect the union’s president and other officers.
That referendum could mean that there is a presidential election next year, before Curry’s term ends in June 2022. As incumbent, Curry would seemingly have a leg up in such a race, making me think that the old guard at the UAW still has a few tricks up its sleeve. But, for now, the right things are being said.
“Rory and I are absolutely committed to making this a smooth, transparent transition for our membership,” Curry said. “And we are both dedicated to the reforms that we have put in place for the UAW.”