DETROIT – As the United Automobile Workers deal with an embezzlement scandal sending more officers to prison and negotiate national contracts, Rory Gamble has taken over as the new president.
Local 4 Business Editor Rod Meloni got an exclusive first interview with Gamble to hear what he had to say about the problems facing the union and his plans to solve them.
The UAW faces a rebuild of epic proportion. The union was forced to install a new president over Gary Jones, who stepped aside over the weekend in an emergency board room vote.
Gamble said he knows he faces a difficult job.
“To me, I feel personal betrayal from these people,” Gamble said.
In July, Gamble walked into the UAW Ford handshake ceremony next to then-president Jones as the UAW Ford vice president. On Tuesday, he separated Jones from the 10 UAW leaders who have been sent to prison because Jones hasn’t been charged.
“(The scandal) is very shameful and it causes me a lot of utter disgust that people I have worked with over the years and known would betray their oaths of office and taken advantage of our members,” Gamble said.
He said he knows it’s controversial for Jones, who makes $200,000 a year, to get paid leave, but unless and until Jones is charged, Gamble said it’s the right move.
Gamble told Local 4 he took the president’s job under a condition that the UAW board allow him to make the necessary tough accounting and financial control changes he deems necessary.
“To me, dues money is sacred and we have to have zero tolerance going forward in how we handle dues money,” Gamble said. “At the next convention, my goal and vision is to hand off to the next president a very clean and uncorrupted labor union.”
Gamble is supposed to hand off the reins of power in September 2022. Then, he said he’s going to retire and spend time with his five children and 34 grandchildren.
Gamble also told Local 4 he’s concerned about the Fiat Chrysler merger with Peugeot, and he intends to visit with FCA national contract negotiators later this week in order to see how or whether the merger will impact talks.