DETROIT — Former UAW President, activist and professor Doug Fraser died Feb. 23 in a suburban Detroit hospital. He was 91.
Fraser was UAW president from 1977 to 1983, capping a career with the union that spanned more than four decades. During his presidency, Fraser spearheaded UAW lobbying on Capitol Hill to secure $1.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for Chrysler Corp. in 1979. The loan was instrumental in saving the company from bankruptcy.
"He was one of the great labor leaders in the last half of the 20th century," former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard told the Associated Press. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Blanchard worked with Fraser to help secure Chrysler's bailout.
Said Blanchard: "He had this combination of substance, politics and charm. He was a realist, and he knew that changes had to be made in order to survive."
Fraser was respected among the UAW rank and file for his easygoing, approachable and straightforward manner. No matter whom he met, he asked to be called "Doug."
"Everybody thought he was wonderful," his wife, Winnie Fraser, told the Detroit Free Press. "He was a good guy, he really was wonderful."