Bob King wins UAW presidency
|June 16, 2010||http://detnews.com/article/20100616/AUTO01/6160387|
Bob King wins UAW presidency
The Detroit News
Detroit — United Auto Workers Vice President Bob King was elected president of the union early this afternoon after a roll-call vote was stopped when he had gained more than enough votes.
King, the union’s 63-year-old lead negotiator with Ford Motor Co., received 2,115 votes to 74 votes for Gary Walkowicz, a 61-year-old Local 600 bargaining committee member at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant who was the first challenger to an endorsed UAW presidential candidate in 18 years.
The challenger did not win all the votes of the four delegates from his Dearborn Truck delegation. He won three.
"Democracy in action!" UAW President Ron Gettelfinger yelled to a cheering crowd. Gettelfinger and the union’s executive board endorsed King’s candidacy.
King’s nomination was loudly cheered by many of the delegates in the morning. He can only run for one term because of the union’s mandatory 65-and-out retirement policy.
Dissident Walkowicz was roundly booed by many delegates on the convention floor as he spoke briefly at the podium in the morning. Some delegates even yelled "withdraw" at Walkowicz.
Walkowicz admitted beforehand that he had little chance of getting elected by the convention’s delegates, but his supporters wanted to use his nomination to speak out against the UAW’s recent deep concessions in workers’ wages and benefits to Detroit’s automakers.
"Our union faces a huge crisis, a real emergency, brought on by past policies," read a statement that Walkowicz’s supporters handed out. "We need to do a radical 180-degree turn, away from policies of concessions!"
Walkowicz’s candidacy met the same fate as that of former UAW executive board member Jerry Tucker, who in 1992 unsuccessfully tried to derail then-UAW President Owen Bieber’s re-election bid.
The rest of King’s nominated executive board candidates and regional director candidates were elected without a challenge on the convention floor, which was festooned with blue-and-gold balloons that said "Bob’s Team."
General Holiefield was elected to a second term as vice president. He has been head of the Chrysler negotiating unit and is a former executive administrative assistant to UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.
Joseph Ashton, director of Region 9 that covers New York, New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, was elected as a new vice president. His region includes GM and Delphi workers.
James "Jimmy" Settles, the director of UAW Region 1A, was re-elected as a vice president. He rose through the ranks from Dearborn’s Local 600, the same local where King began.
Cynthia "Cindy" Estrada, director of the National Organizing Department that recruits workers from a variety of industries, was chosen for a vice presidency.
Dennis Williams, director of UAW Region 4, which covers nine north-central states including Illinois and Wisconsin, also was elected.
All the vice presidential candidates raised their hands in unison with King after their election.
King is scheduled to announce the responsibilities he will assign to each vice president Thursday, including which bargaining units he or she may oversee. King will give an acceptance speech Thursday to the convention as well as hold a press conference.
UAW delegates gave a lengthy farewell to some departing members of the executive board, including Gettelfinger, secretary-treasurer Elizabeth Bunn and GM unit Vice President Cal Rapson, who are retiring.
Gettelfinger was given a rousing and long standing ovation this morning as he received a plaque for more than 44 years of service, including eight years as president.