A long time Toledo union leader has been selected as the next president of the local chapter of the NAACP.
Ray Wood, president of United Auto Workers Local 14, will take the reins of the organization's Toledo unit on Oct. 25. He will replace the Rev. Kevin Bedford, who is moving to Illinois.
"I was first vice president for four years under WilliAnn Moore and then I was reelected under Pastor Bedford," Mr. Wood said. "Our goal will be to stay active, involved, and viable in the community; to be a part of whatever the issues are, and to continue to deal with education, housing, jobs, and gang activity."
Mr. Wood will retain his leadership position with Local 14, which he has held since 2007.
He said the NAACP will continue to act as a united voice.
"We really take pride in making sure we are doing what people expect of us," Mr. Wood said. "Whatever the rights of all people, I want to make sure we emphasize that we have a voice in the community and we support the community... The NAACP is as relevant today as it always has been."
Mr. Wood, a 1972 graduate of the former Macomber High School, was hired as a forklift driver soon after completing high school.
He started at General Motors Corp.'s Toledo Powertrain plant as a line worker 28 years ago, after going to the GM plant from Bostwick-Braun Co. He got involved in the UAW about seven years later and rose through the leadership ranks until he succeeded longtime Local 14 President Oscar Bunch upon his retirement in December, 2006.