UAW delegates elect Jones slate to top slots
Gary Jones | UAW/Twitter

DETROIT—To nobody’s surprise, Auto Workers convention delegates elected Kansas City-area resident Gary Jones, the union’s regional vice president for Missouri, the Great Plains, the Southwest and the West, as the union’s new president. He succeeds Dennis Williams, who reached mandatory retirement age.

The convention roll call repeatedly went “Local…, region…, how do you cast your votes?” “We cast all our votes for Team Jones.” The union’s administrative committee – a subset of top officers – announced last October that it backed Jones for the job.

Team Jones included Ray Curry, the regional vice president for the Southeast, for the union’s #2 job, Secretary-Treasurer, and Rory Gamble, the vice president for Detroit’s West Side, as vice president. Curry and Gamble are African-American and Curry is the second African-American Secretary-Treasurer in UAW’s history. Ruben Burks, the first, served from 1998-2002.

Scattered votes went elsewhere. Six of the seven Chicago Local 551 votes, representing workers at the Ford plant on the city’s South Side, went to Jones. The other, from local President Scott Houdieson, went for local trustee Jason Wachowski. Alan Hughes, a delegate from Local 862 in Louisville, Kent., abstained.

And eight votes, seven from locals of university research assistants and teaching assistants, at the University of Massachusetts, went to prominent dissenter Gary Walcowicz. The other, from Michigan, was from his brother.

Jones is part of a larger transition at the top of the UAW. All three top officers and executive board member Julie Kushner of New York City retired. Curry, Gamble and Jones are also current board members, so union members from their regions met in caucuses after the presidential voting to select their successors.

Jones, 60, has led the union’s southwestern and western Region 5 for five and half years. The region stretches all the way from Missouri to California and Washington state.

Currently a member of Kansas City Local 249, Jones started with the UAW in 1975 when he was hired at Ford’s glass plant in Broken Arrow, Okla., the union’s bio says. When that plant closed, he transferred to Ford’s assembly plant in Kansas City. He’s been on the international staff since 1995, and, as an accountant – and the union’s former chief accountant – has been in top staff jobs ever since.


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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