Biographical sketch of UAW Vice
President James Settles Jr.
James Settles Jr. was elected a vice president
of the UAW on June 14, 2006 at the 34th UAW Constitutional Convention
in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Settles has served on the union’s International Executive Board
since June 2002, when he was elected director of
UAW Region 1A at the UAW’s 33rd Constitutional Convention.
As Region 1A director, Settles played a lead role in successful organizing
campaigns at such automotive parts suppliers as Johnson Controls, Arvin
Meritor, GKN Sinter Metals, ACI, Bridgewater Interiors and Hollingsworth.
He also was part of the UAW team in negotiations with Detroit Diesel
and the State of Michigan.
He was appointed to the staff of the UAW in 1992 as a servicing representative
in Region 1A.
Settles began his career as a trade union activist in 1968, when he
joined UAW Local 600 upon starting work at Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn
Iron Foundry and Michigan Casting Center. He was elected to positions
of increasing responsibility by his co-workers, starting in 1970 with
his election to the General Council of Local 600, an amalgamated local
union. In 1973, he was elected district committeeperson and unit recording
secretary. Two years later, he was elected unit vice president and district
committeeperson. In 1980, his co-workers elected Settles as unit president.
He was also elected as a delegate to the UAW Constitutional Conventions
in 1974, 1977 and 1980.
Settles was appointed to the UAW Local 600 staff in 1982; he served
as staff director in 1983 and as administrative assistant in 1984. UAW
Local 600 members elected Settles recording secretary in 1984 and first
vice president in 1987. He was a member of the UAW-Ford National Negotiating
Committee in 1990.
A longtime political activist and Democratic precinct delegate, Settles
has worked in numerous campaigns for progressive candidates and causes
in southeast Michigan. In 2006, he served on the Inaugural Committee
for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
A Detroit native, Settles is active in a wide range of community and
civic organizations. He is a member of the Detroit-Wayne County Board
of Authority, the Trade Union Leadership Council, the Coalition of Black
Trade Unionists and a Life member of the NAACP. He serves on the boards
of the Henry Ford Community College Employment and Training Development
Center, the Detroit Public School Compact Association at McMichael Middle
School and the North Rosedale Park Civic Association. He is a former
member of the board of the Rouge Employees Credit Union.
Settles is a recipient of the Nelson Jack Edwards Award, named in honor
of the former UAW Vice President, and the Man of the Year Award from
the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). He attends Tabernacle
Missionary Baptist Church.
Settles and his wife, Karen, live in Detroit. He has three children
– James III, Jamelle and Ashlynn, and is stepfather to Dennis,
Anthony and Derrick Yancy.
Settles was born in Detroit on January 31, 1950. He graduated from Detroit’s
Northwestern High School and attended Wayne State University and the
Detroit Institute of Technology.