Rory Gamble Named First African American President Of The Historic UAW

by cdawkins

Rory Gamble has assumed the position of UAW Acting President, as appointed by the International Executive Board. On December 5, 2019, the UAW International Executive Board named Acting President Rory Gamble to fill the vacancy of President until the June 2022 Convention. He maintains his position as UAW Ford Vice President.

Gamble, a welder fixture repairman, joined the UAW in 1974 when he was hired at the Ford Motor Co. Dearborn (Mich.) Frame Plant. He immediately became active in UAW Local 600 and has since served in numerous elected and appointed positions.

In 1975, Local 600 members elected him to serve as a plant trustee.

From 1976 to 1979, he was the local’s alternate benefit representative. He served as bargaining committee chair in 1984. In 1988 he was appointed staff director and administrative assistant for Local 600’s president, with responsibilities for third-stage grievance agendas for all Ford Rouge plants and as editor of UAW Facts, the local’s newspaper. He was elected delegate to the UAW’s 32nd Constitutional Convention and served on the Constitution Committee.

Since 1987, Gamble’s assignments have included local union health and safety coordinator, employee support services program, education director, civil rights coordinator, fitness center coordinator, and family services and learning center coordinator.

He has served as director of Local 600 Ford units, including Dearborn Engine and Fuel Tank, Dearborn Truck Plant, Milan, Industrial Athlete and Dearborn Frame. Other assignments have included retirees’ liaison and coordinator of the Rouge Rehabilitation Center.

In 1998 and 2003, Gamble served on the UAW-Ford National Negotiating Team. From 1993 to 2002 he was elected to three terms as the local’s recording secretary. Gamble was elected first Vice President of Local 600 in 2002 and re-elected in 2005.

In 1999, Gamble received the Spirit of Detroit award; the 2006 Horace L. Sheffield Jr. Humanitarian Award; and the 2008 Minority Women’s Network (Detroit chapter) Man of the Year award. He is a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Trade Union Leaders Council, the Michigan Humane Society and a life member of the NAACP. He serves on the board of Bridging Communities, a grassroots collaborative of Southwest Detroit businesses, labor organizations, churches and residents.

In addition, he is co-chair of the Michigan Labor History Society, treasurer of the Rouge Employees Credit Union and a lifetime supporter of Southwest Detroit Little League. He is a financial contributor to numerous charitable organizations, including the Detroit City Chess Club, Detroit Duffield City Chess Club and the Cornerstone Chess Club. He also contributes to countless school projects; drag racing, youth hockey, softball, hockey and soccer groups; GIVES (Giving is Very Extra Special), in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Assoc.; Young Explorers worldwide development program for young scientists focusing on the environment; United Negro College Fund and the March of Dimes. Gamble was one of the first major sponsors of the Detroit Public Schools’ Martin Luther King Jr. High School marching band trip to China; sponsored bus trips to Washington to protest the attempted reversal of the Brown v. Board of Education court decision and the closing of the NUMMI auto plant in California; worked with the NAACP and Detroit media on a Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History fund raiser for Haitian earthquake victims and helped organize a Comcast Cable symposium on home foreclosures. He is also an ardent supporter of causes for armed forces veterans.

Gamble is a graduate of the labor studies program at Wayne State University.

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