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Joseph Ashton was elected a UAW vice president on June 16, 2010, by delegates at the UAW's 35th Constitutional Convention in Detroit.
Ashton, who previously served as director of Region 9, was elected to that leadership post on June 14, 2006, at the union’s 34th Constitutional Convention in Las Vegas. As director, he played a key role in the organizing of 6,000 casino workers in Atlantic City, N.J.
Region 9 covers western and central New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, excluding the counties of Franklin, Cumberland, Adams and York.
Ashton served as assistant director of Region 9 from January 2003 until his election as director. As assistant director, Ashton played a key role in contract negotiations between the UAW and companies such as SPD Technologies, Dana and Boeing, and in helping 2,400 workers at AK Steel in Butler, Pa., win UAW representation in December 2003.
In 1986 Ashton was appointed to the UAW International staff and assigned to servicing Region 9 local unions at numerous employers throughout the region. In 1996 he was appointed area director for Region 9 Pennsylvania.
Ashton joined UAW Local 1612 in 1969 while working at ITE Circuit in Philadelphia. He quickly became active in his local union and over the years served as sergeant-at-arms, vice president and bargaining committee chairman.
UAW Local 1612 members elected Ashton president, making the 28-year-old union activist the youngest president in the local's history. Ashton served in that capacity until his appointment to the UAW staff. He also represented Local 1612 as a delegate to three UAW Constitutional Conventions.
In 1982 Ashton was elected president of the UAW's Pennsylvania State Community Action Program (CAP), the union's political action arm, a position he held until joining the UAW staff.
Active in labor and civic affairs, Ashton is executive vice president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Executive Council, executive vice president of the New Jersey AFL-CIO and a former director of the Western New York Federal Reserve Bank. He is a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Association, the Statewide Labor Advisory Committee for Pennsylvania, the Northeast-Midwest Alliance for Labor, the Industrial Relations Research Association of Pennsylvania and Meals on Wheels.
Ashton was born in Philadelphia, graduated from the city’s Northeast Catholic High School and attended Penn State University.
Joe and his wife, Denise, have four sons: Joseph, Daniel, Thomas and Patrick, and eight grandchildren.