New UAW President Ray Curry on COVID vaccine mandates, chip shortages, and corruption reforms

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Posted at 5:45 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 17:45:21-04

(WXYZ) — Ray Curry became the third United Autoworkers Union President in less than two years when Rory Gamble retired in June. Curry has less than a year left in this term.

Speaking with reporters for the first time on Zoom he says the union will require employers including the Detroit Big 3 carmakers to negotiate a COVID vaccination mandate.

He says the union is encouraging members to get the shots and there need to be exceptions for members for religious or health reasons. Curry says the union is not tracking the numbers of members who have been vaccinated.

The UAW has 400,000 members in 700 locals including inside some hospitals.

A worldwide chip shortage continues to cripple the auto industry closing assembly plants and laying off workers. Curry says member benefits vary but at a minimum members get sub-pay and unemployment which takes them to 80% of their take-home pay.

Fifteen cases of corruption have rocked the UAW over the last several years. The charges have included Embezzlement and Conspiracy. Two past Presidents, Dennis Williams and Gary Jones were sentenced to more than 20 months in prison. A federal monitor has oversight of the UAW for 6 years.

Curry says union reforms are in place including internal and external audits.

Curry says a referendum will be given to members in the months ahead with more reforms including whether to adopt a one-member-one-vote for union leaders rather than electing them through slates.