DETROIT — UAW President Rory Gamble is considering stepping down from the union before his term ends in June 2022.
Gamble, 65, told CNBC in an interview published this week that he was mulling retirement after guiding the UAW through a corruption investigation that culminated in a consent decree with federal prosecutors late last year.
“I’m looking at my options right now,” he told CNBC. “But my biggest concern is not personal, it’s more about the organization and what’s best for the organization. I’ll probably be making the decision very shortly on what the future’s going to look like.”
The comments echo what he told Automotive News in December when he said he was “looking to retire in the near future.”
While serving as a vice president — before being elevated to the president’s job when Gary Jones resigned — Gamble had weighed stepping down before his term ends in 2022, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. Union age limits prevent Gamble from seeking reelection.
The Detroit News, citing two unidentified sources, said union leaders are considering installing Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry as Gamble’s successor. That would allow an incumbent president to run at the UAW’s June 2022 convention, when members could have the first chance in more than 70 years to vote directly on the next leadership slate.
The union’s agreement with the Justice Department calls for a referendum on whether to scrap the current system, in which elected delegates vote on their members’ behalf.
A UAW spokesman declined to comment on the potential succession plan, saying only that “Rory Gamble is president of the UAW.”
Gamble has made it clear since becoming president in late 2019 that he was near the end of his career but that he wanted to save the union from a government takeover.
He said last year that its prospects were “very dim” until he met with former U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
“I knew I needed to sit down with the prosecutor, but I also knew I couldn’t go into that meeting empty-handed,” he said in December. “The only way we were going to be able to salvage this thing is if we took some severe actions and got some value-added, serious reforms in place. We needed to show we could self-govern.”
The two had a rocky relationship early on, with Schneider publicly questioning some of the union’s early moves under Gamble, but things changed after a June 2020 meeting.
“When I had the opportunity to sit down with him and had a very long, open discussion, I made sure everything was transparent on our side and I believe he saw that,” Gamble said. “The talks kicked off from that point in a more positive direction.”
At a press conference announcing the consent decree, Schneider praised Gamble for showing “poise and leadership” in rooting out corruption and bringing “genuine reform to the union.”