As Bob King will only be president of the UAW for the next nine months, preparations are already under way to select his successor and the most likely candidate is Dennis Williams.
Williams, 60, has been the UAW’s secretary-treasurer since 2010 and served as a regional director based out of the Chicago area for 10 years before that. Attention is shifting to Williams because of a meeting scheduled next month by the union’s administrative caucus, which is essentially a political party charged with selecting nominees for all the union’s top offices.
Jimmy Settles, vice president of the union’s Ford department, was once viewed as a possible successor to King, but he is no longer seeking the position. “I am not a candidate,” Settles told media last week. “At one time I was interested. I am not now.”
Several UAW officials and other UAW insiders told the Detroit Free Press that Williams is widely viewed as a leading candidate to become the union’s next president because of his achievements as regional director, the respect he has earned over the last four years and his ties to the administration of President Barack Obama.
In addition, Williams has played a key role in the UAW’s organizing efforts with Asian and German automakers. In 1989, Williams negotiated the union’s first contract with Mitsubishi Motors at the company’s Normal, Illinois, plant. He also was part of the team that negotiated contracts with Caterpillar in 2011 and 2004.
In 2007, Williams played a central role in then-Sen. Barack Obama’s upset win in the Iowa caucuses that launched his successful presidential candidacy, according to his official UAW biography.
The union needs to elect a new president because King is 67 and UAW bylaws prohibit anyone older than 65 from taking elected office. King renegotiated contracts with the Detroit Three in 2011 that led to the automakers promising to add about 20,000 jobs.
Via The Detroit Free Press
) - Monday, October 21st, 2013 - filed under Industry
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