Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Roy Wyse Gives Uaw's Main Office in Detroit a St. Louis Connection

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Roy Wyse Gives Uaw's Main Office in Detroit a St. Louis Connection

Article excerpt

One of the nation's key industrial unions, the United Auto Workers, is taking on a St. Louis hue in a personnel and organizational sense.

Roy Wyse, the new No. 2 man at the union, headed St. Louis-based UAW Region 5 from 1989 until his election earlier this month as UAW secretary-treasurer.

Wyse moves to UAW headquarters in Detroit at a key time for a union facing a declining membership and a rapidly changing auto industry.

In the Motor City, he'll team with new president Stephen Yokich, who replaces Owen Bieber. Bieber is retiring after 12 years in the top job.

For most of Wyse's tenure here, Region 5 consisted of eight states - Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas - with half its 80,000 members in Missouri.

But earlier this year, the UAW merged Region 6 into Region 5, retaining the headquarters of the reconfigured Region 5 in St. Louis.

That added nine states to the region - California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Utah, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii and Idaho - and made it the union's biggest in area and number of states, 17.

The new region has 90,000 members.

Jim Wells, who began working at the General Motors plant in St. Louis in 1966, is the new regional director, replacing Wyse. Six years ago Wells was Wyse's first major appointment, as assistant director.

Len Robinson, a longtime political director for Region 5, said of Wyse's promotion: "It's always good to have one of your people reach the top of the union. We know Roy, we know what he's made of."

Robinson, a staffer for 22 years, said he expects change in two areas.

One would be a greater "emphasis on organizing the unorganized."

The other: "A rejuvenation of our political department and its goals and the way we've gone about doing business, so that we are successful in helping to educate our membership to get out and vote and elect people who are sensitive to workers and poor people. It's . . . considered equally as important as collective bargaining, if not more so. …

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