Next month Bob King, who will be within weeks of his 64th birthday, almost certainly will be elected president of the UAW at the union's national convention in Detroit.
Because of his age, King likely will be a one-term president; the union's constitution bars anyone from being elected president after his or her 65th birthday.
But King's three-year term promises to be an auspicious period for the union.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, who retires in June, spent his two terms at the helm steering the union through the choppy seas of plant closings, layoffs, concessions, givebacks and ultimately the minefield created by the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler.
King gives Gettelfinger huge credit for keeping the union together, supporting the manufacturers, sacrificing where necessary and protecting benefits as much as was reasonably possible.
Now King wants payback for the sacrifices made to keep automakers and suppliers afloat.
He left no doubt about that last week while speaking to an automotive forum in Detroit that was sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
When the industry gets back to 16 million sales, the profitability of the Detroit 3 "is going to be astronomical," King predicted. "When things turn around, we also want to be part of the upside."
Still, King is leery. "After we come together in crisis ... too often in the past management forgets about our sacrifices when times improve," he said.
Coincidentally, last week marked the 30th anniversary of UAW President Doug Fraser joining the board of directors of the old Chrysler Corp. as a tradeoff for concessions UAW workers made so Chrysler could get federal loan guarantees.
When Fraser retired, his successor, Owen Bieber, sat on the Chrysler board until 1991 -- well after Chrysler's workers had been handsomely rewarded for their sacrifices.
Fraser and Bieber never let management forget the sacrifices made by the UAW.
Somehow, I don't think King will either.