UAW President Rory Gamble has decided to retire as head of the organization about one year ahead of the expiration of the current term, as reported by several outlets, including the Detroit Free Press. Gamble’s relatively short tenure comes after the surprise retirement of UAW Vice President Gerald Kariem amid a relatively tumultuous period for the union, which has been plagued by corruption scandals over the last several years.
The current UAW President has himself been the subject of at least one federal investigation, as Ford Authority previously reported. However, there has been no sign that the government intends to press charges against Gamble. In fact, he will no doubt be remembered for saving the union from being taken over by the federal government, which was a real possibility after former UAW President Gary Jones and several others engaged in massive corruption scheme. Jones was sentenced to 28 months in prison as a result of those actions.
“I said on Day One I would hand over the keys to this treasured institution as a clean union,” said Gamble, 65. “My original intent as a UAW Vice President was to retire at the end of June 2021, and after looking at the progress we have made and the best interests of UAW members for a stable transfer of power, this is the right time for me to turn over the reins.”
It is currently unclear what affect this will have on the organization’s relationship with Ford Motor Company, which currently employs more UAW workers than any other automaker, but the combined departure of its Vice President and President in the span of one month leaves a significant power vacuum at the top. Additionally, the news comes at a time of relative friction between the UAW and Ford, as the union publicly expressed its displeasure with Ford’s decision to choose Mexico as one base of operations for its burgeoning EV investment initiative. Compounding this development is the new BlueOvalSK joint-venture, which will see two new battery plants spring up in South Carolina. While GM committed to union representation at its battery plants, Ford has remained tight-lipped regarding the issue.