The awardees will be honored on Oct. 26, 5:30-7 p.m., at the Walter P. Reuther Library and Community Arts Auditorium on Wayne State’s main campus. Scheduled award presenters will be Governor Jennifer Granholm, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, and Elizabeth Reuther, daughter of Walter P. Reuther. David Bonior, former U.S. Congressman and current university professor of labor studies at Wayne State University, will serve as emcee for the event.
The award, which has only been given to two other luminaries since its inception, civil rights pioneers Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and Rosa Parks, is named for the late Walter P. Reuther, 13-term president of the United Auto Workers (UAW). Reuther was a pioneer in the modern civil rights and environmental movements. Under his leadership, the UAW led the union movement in the establishment of the guaranteed annual income, supplemental unemployment benefits, funded pensions and several other groundbreaking achievements.
Fraser, called “the man who never lost touch” and “the labor leader everyone respects,” rose through the ranks to become the UAW’s sixth international president, a position he held until his retirement in 1983.
While working alongside Walter P. Reuther, Fraser emerged as a tough bargainer and negotiator on behalf of the rank and file. In 1964, the Reuther-Fraser team led the union\'s bargaining committee at Chrysler where the UAW won its historic early retirement program. In 1967, they led negotiations at Chrysler and won the first U.S. - Canada wage parity agreement.
In 1973, Fraser led the bargaining team at Chrysler settling such issues as restrictions on compulsory overtime, a comprehensive health and safety program, improved "30 and Out" early retirement plan, dental care and accelerated arbitration. Another historic breakthrough occurred in 1979 when the UAW won union representation on the Chrysler Board of Directors. Fraser was subsequently elected to the Board of Directors in 1980.
Over the last five decades, he has written numerous laws protecting our health and our environment, as well as the rights of workers and consumers. Notable examples are the 1990 Clean Air Act; Endangered Species Act; Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Mammography Quality Standards Act. An avid conservationist and outdoorsman, and senior member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, Dingell successfully passed legislation to create North America’s first international wildlife refuge, protecting thousands of acres of natural habitat in Southeast Michigan and Canada.
The Walter P. Reuther Humanitarian Award program reception begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Walter P. Reuther Library; a program follows at 7 p.m. at the Community Arts Auditorium. Both venues are located on Wayne State’s main campus.
Tickets are $50 each and proceeds from the event will benefit labor programs at Wayne State University, including the Walter P. Reuther Library, the Labor Studies Center and the Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues. For more information, contact Casandra Ulbrich at (313) 577-6828 or by e-mail at Casandra.firstname.lastname@example.org
Platinum sponsors for the event include DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation.
Wayne State University is a premier institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 11 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students in metropolitan Detroit.