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UAW Vice President's Office: Douglas Fraser Records

Identifier: LR000827

Scope and Content

The UAW Vice president Douglas A. Fraser Collection consists of correspondence, reports, minutes, speeches, publications and other material related to his responsibilities as UAW vice president and director of the Chrysler Department and to his activities as an officer or member of numerous civic, political and governmental organizations.

Important subjects in the collection: Automobile industry—Work environment Automobile industry workers—Canada Automobile industry workers—Health and safety Automobile industry workers—Michigan Atuomobile industry workers--Pensions Automobile safety Chrysler Corporation Collective bargaining—Automobile industry Detroit—Economic development International trade Michigan State Housing Development Authority Newspaper Guild—Local 22 (Detroit, Mich.) Retired workers Skilled labor Strikes and lockouts--Automobile industry--Michigan Trade unions—Automobile industry workers--Canada Trade unions—Automobile industry workers--United States Trade unions—Political activity UAW Community Action Program UAW Chrysler Department United States— Economic policy

Important correspondents: Charles Brooks, Richard Gosser, Pat Greathouse, Odessa Komer, Olga Madar, Andrew Marocko, Emil Mazey, Victor Reuther, Walter Reuther, Leonard Woodcock


  • 1953 - 1977
  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 1977


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.


Douglas Fraser was born in a working class district of Glasgow, Scotland on December 18, 1916. Six years later, his father, an electrician and trade union activist, brought the family to Detroit. After going to work as a metal finisher in Chrysler's DeSoto plant at the age of eighteen, Mr. Fraser became active in UAW Local 227, and was elected president of the local in 1943.

In 1947, Mr. Fraser was appointed an international representative, assigned to the union's Chrysler Department, and four years later answered Walter Reuther's call to join the president's administrative staff, where he remained for eight years. During those years, he was involved in a number of major negotiations with Chrysler, Allis-Chalmers and Studebaker-Packard.

Douglas Fraser was elected co-director of UAW Region 1A in 1959, succeeding the late Ed Cote. UAW convention delegates elected him board member-at-large in 1962, and following the convention, he was appointed director of the Chrysler, Skilled Trades and Technical, Office and Professional Departments. Over the next two decades, he and Presidents Reuther and Woodcock negotiated a number of historic contract gains for UAW members in bargaining with Chrysler Corporation, among which were the early retirement program, U. S.-Canada wage parity, restrictions on compulsory overtime, a comprehensive health and safety program, dental care, accelerated arbitration, pension benefit increases, and cost-of-living allowance improvements.

He was elected a vice president of the UAW in 1970 and president in 1977. After his retirement from the UAW in 1983, Mr. Fraser joined the faculty of Wayne State University as University Professor of Labor Studies. He has been active throughout his career in Democratic Party politics and a number of labor, economic development, and social reform groups.


11 Linear Feet (11 SB)


Subjects include: collective bargaining and working conditions in the automobile industry; Canadian labor relations; automobile safety; Detroit economic development; international trade; Democratic Party politics; Michigan State Development Authority; Newspaper Guild Local 22; retired workers; UAW Community Action Program; UAW Chrysler Department


Folders are listed by their location within each box. They are not necessarily arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout the entire collection.


The records of the UAW Vice-President's Office Douglas Fraser were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in multiple shipments beginning in 1983 and ending in 1992.

Related Materials

UAW collections


A few photographs received with the collection have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by P. Brann on September 23, 1994.
Guide to the UAW Vice President's Office: Douglas Fraser Records
Processed by P. Brann.
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