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Dennis Williams elected new UAW President; Flint's Jewell becomes VP

by: ScottyUrb

Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 14:59:42 PM EDT

The United Auto Workers has a new person at the helm - and he's not from Michigan.

The UAW convention a little while ago elected Illinois native Dennis Williams to lead the auto union for the next few years. A Marine Corps Veteran, he is a friend of President Obama and has been the Secretary-Treasurer since 2010.

Succeeding Williams as Secretary-Treasurer will be Gary Casteel, who has served as director for Region 8 (which covers many Southeastern states).

In addition to re-electing Vice Presidents Cindy Estrada and Jimmy Settles, members also elected Flint native and Region 1-C Director Norwood Jewell to serve as Vice President.

ScottyUrb :: Dennis Williams elected new UAW President; Flint's Jewell becomes VP
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Williams won by 3,215 votes to 49
Those numbers are reminiscent of the Teamsters during the Jackie Presser era.

And Williams is not only an aging white guy (full disclosure: so am I) but ex-military.

And this UAW remains the de facto parent company of the MDP.

I'm not encouraged.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

For Michigan Dennis is different
What's interesting to me is that the most important fact for us here in Michigan about Dennis Williams is that he's not from Michigan. He may be the first UAW president from another state, I don't know. But I can't think of a past UAW president who wasn't from Michigan.  Who didn't live here.  That, I believe, changes things politically. I can't predict precisely what might change, but it seems to me that the intense political focus the UAW president has often brought to Michigan politics will likely dim.  Maybe a lot. That could mean others within the UAW in Michigan become empowered.  People like Norwood Jewell and Cindy Estrada. Or Ron Bieber. That, in turn, could result in the UAW positioning itself differently within the MDP.  Perhaps prioritizing labor piece over the politics that led to Mark Brewer's defeat. Again, hard to predict. But Williams not being from Michigan means something in how Democratic politics plays out over the next few years.  

Ron Gettelfinger was from Kentucky
and came up the UAW ranks from Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant - he didn't shy away from being active in the MDP.

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