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UAW Vice President's Office: Irving Bluestone Records

Identifier: LR000993

Scope and Content

The UAW Vice president’s Office: Irving Bluestone Collection consists of correspondence, minutes, reports, clippings, pamphlets and negotiations material related to Mr. Bluestone’s career in the UAW, especially the affairs of the General Motors Department, and to his involvement in a number of other organizations and activities.

Important Subjects in the Collection: Bolivar, Tennessee Project Labor-Management Relations Chrysler Contract Negotiations Pensions & Benefits Employment/Unemployment Productivity in the Auto Industry Ford Contract Negotiations Quality of Work Life General Motors Lordstown Plant Technology in the Auto Industry General Motors Contract Negotiations UAW Community Action Program General Motors Strike- 1970 UAW Region 1 General Motors Tarrytown Plant UAW Region 2 International Labor Movement UAW Region 9A

Important correspondents: Bieber, Owen; McDermott, Dennis; Colbath, William; Pepper, Claude; Dillard, Ernest; Reuther, Walter; Fraser, Douglas; Sexton, Brendan; James, Frank; Stepp, Marc; Marshall, William; Weinberg, Nat; Maynard, Libby; White, Bob; Mazey, Emil; Woodcock, Leonard


  • 1959 - 1980
  • Majority of material found within 1965 - 1980


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.


Irving Bluestone was born January 5, 1917 in New York City. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from City College of New York in 1937 and spent the following year pursuing postgraduate studies at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Mr. Bluestone began his career in the labor movement in 1942, joining UAW Local 511 while working as a production grinder for GM’s Hyatt Bearing Division in Harrison, New Jersey. He served as chairman of the local’s bargaining and education committees and editor of its newspaper until 1945, when he was appointed to the UAW Region 9A staff servicing locals.

In December, 1947 Walter Reuther brought him to Detroit to join the staff of the UAW’s largest department, General Motors, where he coordinated their arbitration machinery and did general field work. In 1955 Leonard Woodcock was elected vice president and made Mr. Bluestone his administrative assistant, with responsibility for aerospace negotiations and contract administration as well as GM negotiations.

In 1961 Mr. Bluestone became Walter Reuther’s administrative assistant and participated in all negotiations with the Big Three as well as AMC and many suppliers. Ten years later, shortly after Leonard Woodcock succeeded Walter Reuther as UAW president, Mr. Bluestone took over leadership of the General Motors Department. He was elected vice president in 1972, filling the executive board spot vacated by Leonard Woodcock.

During the 1970s Mr. Bluestone authored the union’s highly successful “mini strike” bargaining tactic and its innovative quality of work life programs. In 1977 he was selected UAW Michigan Community Action Council chairman.

In addition to his activities on behalf of the labor movement, Mr. Bluestone played a key role in many community, state, national and international organizations, working to advance national health security, protect and expand civil rights, improve education and school facilities, enlarge job opportunities and reverse unemployment.

Mr. Bluestone retired from the UAW in June, 1980 and joined the faculty of Wayne State University as University Professor of Labor Studies. He served in that capacity until 1999. Irving Bluestone died in 2007.


59 Linear Feet (59 SB)


Subjects include: contract negotiations; labor-management relations at General Motors; pensions and benefits; international labor movement; Bolivar, Tennessee Project; productivity; Quality of Work Life; technology; UAW Community Action


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 UAW Vice-President's Office: Irving Bluestone were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in multiple shipments beginning in 1980 and ending in 1993.

Related Materials

UAW collections


A few photographs, items of memorabilia, and audio tapes of the memorial service held for Walter and May Reuther in Detroit in 1970 have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection, and a number of books, convention proceedings and serials received with the collection can be found in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by J. LaFramboise on April 22, 1994.
Guide to the UAW Vice President's Office: Irving Bluestone Records
Processed by J. LaFramboise.
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