UAW Vice President and National Ford Director
Gerald Kariem was unanimously selected by the UAW International Board to the position of Vice President and Director of the UAW Ford Department on Jan. 16, 2020. Kariem will serve out the term left vacant when Rory Gamble was elected UAW President Dec. 5, 2019.
Gerald Kariem was elected to his third term as director of UAW Region 1D by delegates to the UAW's 37th Constitutional Convention in June 2018.
He was first elected to lead the region at the 35th Constitutional Convention in June 2010.
During his tenure for almost a decade as a member of the UAW International Executive Board, and at the helm of one of the most diverse regions in the union, Kariem skillfully managed the merger between Regions 1C and 1D. His leadership and guidance brought the IPS-TOP-Aerospace and General Motors dense region together. The committees, councils, staff, retirees, leadership, and membership now proudly serve under the single banner of Region 1D.
Region 1D covers UAW members in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the central, western and northern portions of the Lower Peninsula.
His institution of annual regional area meetings, frequent worksite visits, and very visible presence at local union functions make Kariem a leader in touch with the membership. He believes in leadership development and empowerment of workers and in communities. His statewide community relationship led to his selection to serve on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s transition team following her election in November 2018.
Kariem was appointed assistant director by then-Region 1D Director Don Oetman in June 2008. He started his union work in 1976 at age 20 when he began working at Saginaw Steering Gear, represented by UAW Local 699. He is currently a member of UAW Local 362.
His initial involvement with the union began in the early 1980s when he became a member of the education committee and later became involved with the union’s Community Action Program. He was elected shop committee person in 1992.
Kariem, a 1998 UAW Fellow, was appointed to the union's International staff as a servicing representative in 2001 by UAW President Stephen P. Yokich, as recommended by Region 1D Director George Andros.
Kariem has also participated for several years at the University of Michigan Labor Studies Institute, serving as facilitator, instructor and conference coordinator.
He is a member of the Democratic Party and serves on the Democratic National Committee. Kariem is a United Way of Saginaw County board member and a national board member of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Kariem also sits on the Saginaw Chapter of the NAACP Executive Board and the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Mott Community College.
The Martha Reynolds Labor Award from Grand Rapids Community College and the Michigan Labor Press Award are two of the many accolades Kariem has received from union and community organizations.
Kariem has a long history of being involved in his church, Mt. Olive Institutional Missionary Baptist, and community. He and his wife, Pat, have been married for 43 years and have one son, one daughter and four grandchildren.
Vice President Kariem’s favorite quote is: "The more you give, the more you receive – material, physical and spiritual – without reservation, without limitations."