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Detroit — The United Auto Workers' governing International Executive Board on Thursday unanimously selected Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem as the next vice president and director of the union's Ford Motor Co. Department.

Kariem will serve out the term left vacant when Rory Gamble was elected president last fall, the union said. The Detroit News reported on Wednesday that the board was expected to vote on Kariem to be named vice president.

“Gerald brings a wealth of leadership in contract implementation, and he will be able to pick up on the recently ratified Ford contract,” Gamble said in a statement. “His experience in implementing the merger of Regions 1C and 1D and building teamwork through his leadership will be invaluable as we implement reforms within the UAW.”

Kariem, 63, of Saginaw is in his third term as director of Region 1D, which oversees 48,000 members in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as well as the central, western and northern portions of the Lower Peninsula. He was paid $175,480 in 2018, and is one of the longest-serving members of the executive board. Kariem was first elected to the region in June 2010. He joined the union in 1976 at Saginaw Steering Gear and is currently a member of UAW Local 362 in Bay City.

“I look forward to working with our members as well as the Ford Corporation, which has demonstrated good corporate citizenship in the past,” Kariem said in a statement. “We will also aggressively implement the new contract. Our members will benefit from the pathways to full pay they created and the launch of new products and new technologies. This is an exciting time for UAW Ford members.”

The UAW said delegates from Region 1D's locals will meet and elect a new leader, indicating it will not be dissolved and combined with other regions. The board had done so last month with Region 5 in the southwestern United States, combining it with Region 4 in Illinois and Region 8 in Tennessee. Region 5 had been at the center of a federal corruption investigation into the UAW for conferences held where UAW officials spent member dues on private villas, alcohol, cigars and other luxuries, according to prosecutors.

Steve Dawes, Region 1D assistant director, will be the region's point of contact until a regional special convention can be held to elect its new leader. The UAW constitution requires this be done within 30 days.

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @bykaleahall

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