By TIM ROWDEN
The United Auto Workers is disbanding its 17-state Region 5, headquartered St. Louis, amid allegations and criminal charges involving financial wrongdoing exposed by an ongoing federal corruption probe.
The move was announced by new UAW President Rory Gamble on Friday, Dec. 6, in a call with regional leaders.
The UAW International Executive Board (IEB) voted on Dec. 5 to merge the states represented by UAW Region 5 between UAW Regions 4 and 8. This merger will be effective Feb. 28, 2020.
“Today’s action was taken in the interest of maintaining continuity in representing and servicing our members,” Gamble said. “Both Regions 4 and 8 have been prudently managed, cover wide geographic territories and have proven experience effectively representing UAW members.
“This will not impact any individual locals or state CAP councils or retiree councils,” Gamble said.
“When a vacancy occurs on the IEB – as happened with Region 5 – the UAW Constitution allows for the International Executive Board to combine regions, an action that has been taken in the past. These consolidations have no impact on regional staffing, international union programming or the operation of local unions.”
Region 5 comprises 37,000 members in 17 states in the western and southwestern United States, including: Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Washington and Hawaii.
The UAW will announce how the new regions will be apportioned at a later date.
“Whenever there is a regional director vacancy, the UAW IEB takes the opportunity to look at our structure and consider the best interests of our members and the Union,” said Ray Curry, UAW secretary-treasurer.
As with recent past mergers in 2002 and 2012, Curry said, “We have determined that this decision is prudent for the best interests of the union and will not impact or interrupt membership services or regional operations.”