Reuther, Walter

Reuther, Walter

▪ American labour leader
in full  Walter Philip Reuther 
born September 1, 1907, Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S.
died May 9, 1970, Pellston, Michigan
 American labour leader who was president of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations) (CIO) and was active in national and international affairs.

      Reuther's negotiating skills helped win numerous bargaining gains for the UAW. These included annual raises based on productivity advances, cost-of-living increases, supplementary unemployment benefits, early-retirement options, and health and welfare benefits.

      As the son of a trade-union and socialist activist, Reuther became an apprentice tool and die maker in Wheeling at the age of 16 and, upon moving to Detroit, Michigan, at 19, became a tool and die craftsman. He was soon promoted to a foreman's post and went on to complete high school and three years of college. In the 1930s Reuther and his brother Victor spent three years traveling around the world, working for almost two years in an automobile factory in the Soviet Union. The experience led him to condemn the lack of freedom in communist societies. He would go on to fight the communist elements in the UAW and the CIO.

 While president of his local union on the west side of Detroit, Reuther helped lead the sit-down strikes that established the UAW as a force in the automobile industry. He became director of the General Motors Department of the UAW in 1939 and was president of the union (organized labour) from 1946 until his death. In 1952 Reuther succeeded Philip Murray (Murray, Philip) as president of the CIO; in that position he became an architect of the AFL-CIO merger (American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations) in 1955. Reuther, elected a vice president of the merged labour federation and president of its Industrial Union Department, held positions that made him second only to George Meany (Meany, George), president of the combined AFL-CIO. At the same time, Reuther served as vice president of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, a counterforce to the communist-controlled World Federation of Trade Unions.

      Reuther's relationship with Meany—whom he criticized for dictatorial control, conservatism, and inaction—had deteriorated by 1968, which prompted Reuther to withdraw the UAW from the federation he had helped create. The following year he launched the Alliance for Labor Action in cooperation with the Teamsters (Teamsters Union), a union that had been expelled from the AFL-CIO in 1957 on charges of corruption.

      In 1970 Reuther and his wife were killed in a plane crash near Pellston, Michigan.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Reuther, Walter — (1907 1970)    Future labor leader Walter Reuther was born in West Virginia and left school at the age of 16 to work. In 1927, he went to Detroit, Michigan, to work for Ford Motor Company. In 1932, he went to Europe and spent two years working in …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Reuther, Walter — ► (1908 70) Sindicalista estadounidense. Organizó a los trabajadores del automóvil y fundó el sindicato correspondiente …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Reuther, Walter (Philip) — born Sept. 1, 1907, Wheeling, W.Va., U.S. died May 9, 1970, Pellston, Mich. U.S. labour leader. He became an apprentice tool and diemaker at age 16. He traveled around the world in the 1930s, developing a lifelong distaste for communism after… …   Universalium

  • Reuther, Walter (Philip) — (1 sep. 1907, Wheeling, W.V., EE.UU.–9 may. 1970, Pellston, Mich.). Dirigente sindical estadounidense. A la edad de 16 años era aprendiz de fabricación de herramientas y estampas. En la década de 1930 viajó alrededor del mundo y luego de trabajar …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Reuther,Walter Philip — Reu·ther (ro͞oʹthər), Walter Philip. 1907 1970. American labor leader who was president of the United Auto Workers (1946 1970) and of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (1952 1955). * * * …   Universalium

  • Reuther — Reuther, Walter …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • REUTHER (W. P.) — REUTHER WALTER PHILIP (1907 1970) Importante personnalité du syndicalisme américain. D’abord outilleur chez Ford en même temps qu’il suivait les cours de la Wayne University de Detroit, Walter Reuther prit part au syndicalisme militant après la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Walter — Walter, Bruno Walter, John * * * (as used in expressions) Adams, Walter S(ydney) Alvarez, Luis W(alter) Bagehot, Walter Walter Lanier Barber Beaton, Sir Cecil (Walter Hardy) Benjamin, Walter Brattain, Walter H(ouser) Richard Walter Jenkins, Jr.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Walter — /vahl teuhr/ for 1; /wawl teuhr/ for 2, 3, n. 1. Bruno /brooh noh/, (Bruno Schlesinger), 1876 1962, German opera and symphony conductor, in U.S. after 1939. 2. Thomas Ustick /yooh stik/, 1804 87, U.S. architect. 3. a male given name. * * * (as… …   Universalium

  • Walter Reuther Central High School — is a high school located in downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin. It is a part of the Kenosha Unified School District. The school was named for United Auto Workers leader Walter Reuther. The school occupies the massive block square building built in 1924… …   Wikipedia

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