UAW executive board OKs new region in western U.S.

The Detroit News

The United Auto Workers International Executive Board voted Tuesday to create a new region in the western United States. 

The Detroit-based board opted to change the composition of its regions 4 and 8 to allow for a new Region 6 that covers Washington; Oregon; California and Nevada; Idaho; Utah; Arizona; and Hawaii and Alaska.

“Just in the past few years the UAW has been growing in the West including 17,000 new graduate student researchers at the University of California, with gaming industry dealers, and new opportunities in vehicle production, parts and suppliers,” said Ray Curry, UAW International president, in a statement.

With the board decision, the Western States Region would have nominations for its regional director at the UAW’s next constitutional convention, which is scheduled for July 25-28 at Detroit's Huntington Place downtown conference center.

The election for that position would happen along with all other executive board positions; the new region launches after the international executive board member is sworn in, according to the release.

“The new Region 6 will comprise over 40,000 UAW members in an area where our union density and growth is high and we believe will continue with strong organizing growth in the future,” Curry said.

The UAW has more than 400,000 active members and more than 580,000 retired members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, according to its website. It also has more than 600 local unions and 1,150 contracts with about 1,600 employers.

Tuesday's announcement came weeks after a federal judge ordered the UAW to continue with steps to amend the union’s constitution to adopt direct elections of its international executive board members.

UAW members last fall with 64% support voted to implement the “one member, one vote” reform over the existing delegate-based system to elect the 13-member board.

UAW members were given the chance to vote on whether to change the election system that has been in place for seven decades. It was included as a part of a consent decree the union reached with the Justice Department following a years-long corruption investigation that resulted in the convictions of 15 people, including two former UAW presidents.