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UAW President's Office: Douglas Fraser Records

Identifier: LR001116

Scope and Content

Part I: Part 1 of The UAW President's Office Douglas A. Fraser Records consists of correspondence, reports, minutes, speeches, publications and other material related to his responsibilities as UAW president, including contract negotiations, relations with locals and regions, issues affecting the automobile industry, like air quality and Japanese competition, and to his activities as an officer or member of numerous civic, political and governmental organizations.

Important correspondents: Ken Bannon, Owen Bieber, Irving Bluestone, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Jack Edwards, Don Ephlin, Henry Ford II, Carolyn Forrest, Martin Gerber, Pat Greathouse, Frank James, Edward M. Kennedy, Odessa Komer, Olga Madar, William Milliken, Emil Mazey, Dennis McDermott, Ralph Nader, Victor Reuther, Stephen Schlossberg, Horace Sheffield, Marc Stepp, Leonard Woodcock, Steve Yokich, Coleman A. Young

Series Description:

Series 1: Subject and Correspondence Files, 1967-1983, Boxes 1-3, 12-79 Series 2: Affiliations, Speeches, Interviews and Testimony, 1977-1983, Boxes 4-11
Part II: Part 2 of the collection covers the span of Douglas A. Fraser’s presidency of the UAW from 1977-1983.

Series Description: Series 1: International Executive Board, Box 1-3. Files cover the proceedings of the International Executive Board (IEB) of the United Auto Workers. Included within this series are correspondence with regional directors, meeting materials, and IEB resolutions.

Series 2: Collective Bargaining, Box 3-4. Files cover collective bargaining with the Big Three auto companies.

Series 3: Correspondence, Box 5-18. Contains correspondence from the President’s office between union members, big three executives, and the general public. Materials include correspondence, clippings, and reports.


  • 1971 - 1985

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


100 Linear Feet (97 SB, 1 OS)


Douglas A. Fraser was elected UAW President in 1977 following the retirement of Leonard Woodcock. As UAW President Fraser presided over the emergence of Japanese auto imports into the previously US dominated auto industry, growing concerns over air quality, worker safety issues, and job re-training. In 1981 Fraser successfully reunited the UAW with the AFL-CIO after a 13 year absence. Fraser was also instrumental in assisting Chrysler Motor Company’s federal bailout loan to avoid the company’s bankruptcy and the loss of thousands of auto workers’ jobs in 1979. In recognition of his commitment to the success of both US auto companies and workers, in 1980 Fraser was the first union member to be elected to the Chrysler Board of Directors. Fraser retired from the UAW in 1983, succeeded by Owen Bieber, to begin his second career as Professor of Labor Studies at Wayne State University. Douglas Fraser died on February 23, 2008.


Part I: Folders in each series are simply listed by their location within each box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within each series.
Part II: Arranged in 3 Series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), Series 2 (Boxes 3-4), and Series 3 (Boxes 5-18).

Within each series the files are arranged alphabetically by subject and within subject by date.
Finding aid consists of 2 files (one for each part). Researcher must indicate which file (part) the boxes are from as numbering is not continuous.


The records of Douglas Fraser were deposited in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in multiple shipments by the UAW.

Related Materials

UAW presidents' collections


Part I: Several photographs, awards, videotapes, items of memorabilia, and a reel of film documenting UAW-Chrysler Canada negotiations have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection, and a number of local union bylaws, Walker Manufacturing Company contracts, and miscellaneous publications received with the collection may be found in the Archives Library.
Part 2: One box of material containing a tie tack and a pen and letter from US President Jimmy Carter has been moved to the vault.
Guide to the UAW President's Office: Douglas Fraser Records
Processed by J. Littsey.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA