UAW President Gary Jones announces leave of absence, Rory Gamble to serve as interim president

Gamble currently UAW Ford vice president

DETROIT – United Auto Workers President Gary Jones asked for a leave of absence during an emergency meeting held by the United Auto Workers International Board Saturday morning, sources tell Local 4.

The board voted Rory Gamble as the interim UAW president effective Monday. Gamble is currently the UAW Ford Vice President. He was elected a vice president of the UAW in June 2018, at the union’s 37th Constitutional Convention in Detroit, according to the UAW. Gamble previously served three terms as director of UAW Region 1A.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a corruption scandal involving the UAW.

Rory Gamble.
Rory Gamble. (UAW)

The UAW released the following statement in response:

"UAW President Gary Jones has asked for a leave of absence, following a vote of the Executive Board. It will be effective Sunday, Nov. 3rd. Vice President Rory Gamble, who recently negotiated the Ford agreement, will serve as acting president and assume full responsibility for the president’s office.

“The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future. I do not want anything to distract from the mission. I want to do what’s best for the members of this great union,” Jones said.

Gamble said the UAW would continue to fight for its members every single day: “Together throughout the last few months, we’ve achieved substantial victories for UAW members and we know that we have more work to do. We want better health care coverage, better salaries and respect for our work. That will not change.”

In the wake of the UAW International Board’s decision Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, released the following statement:

“In October 1959, at the UAW Constitutional Convention, held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, my father rose to nominate Willoughby Abner for the Vice Presidency of the UAW, and thereby, if he won, making Abner the first African American to serve on the UAW Board. In his nominating of Abner my father declared, ‘Here it is that I go all over the south representing this union in the civil rights movement, bailing civil rights workers out of jail, and marching to eliminate Jim Crow and alas right here in my own union a black cannot even serve on the board of the UAW. Therefore, I rise today to place into nomination the name of Willoughby Abner for Vice President of the UAW’.

It wasn’t until 1962, three years later that an African American, Nelson Jack Edwards, was elected to the UAW Board, and thirteen years later, that the same person became the first African American Vice President of the UAW. I bring all this back to our attention because as we celebrate this historic event, Rory Gamble becoming the UAW’s first African American President, it’s important for us to note the road that was paved and the shoulders he has had to stand upon for this to come to fruition.

I spoke this morning with President Rory to congratulate him on behalf of the legacy of my father. We also discussed his historic achievement as being won for the UAW’s, for Black Trade Unionists, and for TULC. I was heartened that President Gamble spoke of his new administration in light of the battle that was fought for workers like my grandfather, Horace L. Sheffield, Sr., who worked 50 years, many without a union, at the Ford Rouge plant, and for Horace L. Sheffield, IV, a current UAW member who longs to restore confidence in the integrity of the current union and continued gains for it workers.

So today I salute the UAW for its vision to place Rory Gamble in this leadership position, pray for him and for the restoration of the integrity of the UAW, and I trust that through his leadership that the workers and members of the UAW will move forward in solidarity for “the union makes us strong.”

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