UAW names Gerald Kariem new VP, director of Ford department

DETROIT — The UAW’s International Executive Board on Thursday named Gerald Kariem vice president and director of the Ford department, freeing up former UAW-Ford Vice President Rory Gamble to concentrate on his role as president.

Kariem, 63, has been director of the union’s Region 1D in Michigan since 2010. He’s been a union member since 1976, when he began working at Saginaw Steering Gear.

“Gerald brings a wealth of leadership in contract implementation, and he will be able to pick up on the recently ratified Ford contract,” Gamble said in a statement. “His experience in implementing the merger of Regions 1C and 1D and building teamwork through his leadership will be invaluable as we implement reforms within the UAW.”

The union said that Assistant Director Steve Dawes will be Region 1D’s point of contact until delegates from the region’s locals meet to elect a new leader. No timetable was given.

Kariem inherits a Ford department known for its positive working relationship with the automaker. As UAW-Ford vice president late last year, Gamble led negotiations that secured, over the next four years, $6 billion worth of investment, the creation/retention of 8,500 jobs, a $9,000 signing bonus for full-time workers and no increases to spending on health care.

Ford’s talks were relatively smooth compared with those of GM, which endured a 40-day national strike, and FCA.

Because of age restrictions, Kariem will be ineligible for another term once the current one expires in 2022. The union will need to elect a new Ford vice president before the next set of contract negotiations in 2023.

Gamble has juggled the UAW-Ford vice president role and the union presidency since he took over for former President Gary Jones, who resigned in November amid a federal corruption investigation.

“I look forward to working with our members as well as the Ford corporation, which has demonstrated good corporate citizenship in the past,” Kariem said in a statement. “We will also aggressively implement the new contract. Our members will benefit from the pathways to full pay they created and the launch of new products and new technologies. This is an exciting time for UAW Ford members.”

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