Dennis Williams was elected UAW president in June 2014 at the union’s 36th Constitutional Convention. Williams previously served as the union’s secretary-treasurer, elected at the UAW’s 35th Constitutional Convention in June 2010.
As secretary-treasurer, Williams was part of developing a long-term strategy for the union, supporting the membership and organizing the foreign-owned automakers in the United States. Williams was instrumental in turning around the relationship with Navistar Inc., bringing major investments into UAW facilities as well as organizing the Tulsa Bus plant.
His union experience has carried him through the many diverse sectors of the UAW, giving him broad knowledge and understanding that few ever have a chance to accomplish. Williams, a United States Marine Corp veteran, joined UAW Local 806 in 1977 at J.I. Case where he was a salvage welder. He was elected to the bargaining committee and as chairman.
In 1988, Williams was appointed as an International representative and assigned to the National Organizing Department. Besides organizing, his assignments included negotiating the first contract at Mitsubishi Motors North America in Bloomington, Ill. He also assisted in organizing Indiana state employees. He spent 2 1/2 years assisting members of Local 844 in Vermont, Ill., obtain a first contract. This worker justice campaign involved legal action and extensive mobilization of union members and community allies.
In 1992, Region 4 Director Bill Stewart assigned Williams to service locals in various sectors throughout the region, including Agricultural Implements, Independent Parts and Supplier (IPS), and Technical, Office and Professional (TOP). He also assisted in the negotiation and servicing of several national agreements, including J.I.Case. In June 1995, Williams was appointed as the assistant director of Region 4 by Regional Director Paul Korman, where he served until his election as director.
In 2001, he was elected UAW Region 4 Director at a special convention. He was re-elected in June 2002 and in June 2006 at the UAW Constitutional Convention in Las Vegas. Region 4 includes Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.