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UAW Chrysler Department Records

Identifier: LR000106

Scope and Contents

Important subjects in the collection: Afro-American automobile industry workers Automobile industry workers--Canada Automobile industry workers--Health and hygiene Chrysler Corporation Collective bargaining--Automobile industry--United States Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) Eldon Revolutionary Union Movement (ELRUM) Factories--Safety measures Grievance arbitration--United States Pensions--United States Plant shutdowns--United States Retirees--United States Skilled labor--United States Strikes and lockouts--Automobile industry--United States Supplemental unemployment benefits--United States Trade-unions--Organizing--United States Trade unions and communism--United States UAW--Community Action Program United States.--National War Labor Board (1942-1945) United States.--War Production Board

Important correspondents in the collection: George Addes Richard Frankensteen Douglas Fraser Arthur Hughes Leo LaMotte Norman Matthews Emil Mazey Walter Reuther Marc Stepp

Series Description: Series I: General Subject Files, 1938-1988 Series II: Local Files, 1941-1984 Series III: Negotiations and Grievance Files, 1939-1985


  • 1938 - 1985


Language of Materials

Materials 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.


A May 1938 Walter Reuther proposal led to the creation of separate UAW departments to service union members employed by the major automobile manufacturers. General Executive Board Member Richard T. Frankensteen became the UAW Chrysler Department’s first director, after having helped to negotiate the UAW’s contract with the Chrysler Corporation following the tumultuous sit-down strikes of 1937.

Since Frankensteen’s departure as department director in 1940, Leo LaMotte, Emil Mazey, Norman Matthews, Douglas Fraser and Marc Stepp have headed the UAW’s Chrysler Department, which is responsible for planning, developing, negotiating, and administering collective bargaining agreements for Chrysler workers in the United States and Canada.

In 1953, Chrysler purchased Briggs Manufacturing, and five years later the UAW Chrysler Department merged with the Briggs UAW Council. From the 1940s until his retirement in 1978, Arthur Hughes acted as either administrative assistant or assistant director of the Chrysler Department, and many of the files that comprise this collection, containing correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, grievances, contract negotiations and convention material, clippings and other publications, emanated from his office.


102 Linear Feet (102 SB)


The UAW Chrysler Department was formed in the year following the tumultuous sit-down strikes of 1937. Responsible of the department included planning, developing, negotiating, and administering collective bargaining agreements for Chrysler workers in the United States and Canada. The records of the department reflect its administration and activities and largely include the files of Arthur Hughes, an administrative assistant and assistant director in the department from 1940-1978.


Arranged in three series. Series 1 (Boxes 1-18), Series 2 (Boxes 18-29), and Series 3 (Boxes 30-102).

Separated Materials

A large number of books, contracts and newspapers were transferred to the Archives Library, and some photographs and political campaign memorabilia have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection.

Processing History.

Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
UAW Chrysler Department Records
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