DETROIT — Ray Curry, who last week became the UAW's fourth president in three years, will be challenged to grow the troubled union in a time of unprecedented change as the industry shifts to electrification. That's assuming he can win reelection next year in what could be the first direct vote by rank-and-file members in decades.
Curry, 55, was selected by the UAW International Executive Board to serve the final year of Rory Gamble's term. Gamble, 65, was barred by union age limits from running again next year and chose to retire early in the hopes of setting up Curry as a potential multiple-term leader.
The format for next year's election will depend on the outcome of a referendum later this year, when members will decide whether to adopt a new one-member, one-vote system for choosing their leaders. The referendum is one condition of the UAW's six-year settlement with the government over the corruption scandal that resulted in prison sentences for Gamble's two predecessors and other former officials.
If the one-member, one-vote system is approved, Curry's reelection bid in June 2022 could be the toughest for an incumbent president in recent union history.