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Bob King was elected UAW president in June, 2010. Known for his activism and passionate belief in social and economic justice, King also served three terms as a UAW vice president. First assigned to lead the union’s National Organizing Department in 1998, he assisted more than 80,000 workers in organizing with the UAW and pioneered neutrality and majority signup agreements.
From 1989 to 1998, King served three terms as director of UAW Region 1A, in the Detroit area. He joined UAW Local 600 in 1970 when he was hired at Ford Motor Co.’s Detroit Parts Depot and began his electrical apprenticeship in 1972. He was elected vice president in 1981 and president in 1984. He was re-elected in 1987 and twice elected chair of the UAW Ford Negotiating Committee.
A keen and strategic negotiator, King led the union through tough contract talks with the domestic automakers in 2011, winning back many of the concessions workers made to help the companies weather the Great Recession that began in 2008. The 2011 contracts created tens of thousands of new jobs at the domestic carmakers in communities across the U.S. and tens of thousands more in related industries and services that will benefit struggling communities. The landmark agreements also included company commitments for significant new investments and products for UAW-represented plants, wage and benefit improvements for new hires, the insourcing of vehicle production from other countries and the reopening of a General Motors assembly plant in Tennessee.
As a UAW vice president, King played a major role in both the UAW Ford 2007 National Agreement and the 2009 modifications of the agreement.
King has led delegations to all corners of the world to stand in solidarity with the oppressed. In 1990, he supported trade unionists and church members in El Salvador who were victims of a long campaign of deadly bombings, death-squad murders and disappearances carried out by Salvadoran soldiers trained by the U.S. military’s School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. He has long supported efforts to close the school.
A 1968 graduate of the University of Michigan, King received his law degree in 1973 from the University of Detroit. He’s a U.S. Army veteran, a life member of the NAACP and a Michigan Democratic Party precinct delegate.
He lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., with his wife, Moe Fitzsimons, and has five children: Jennifer, Kathlene, Jackson, Bernadette and William.