Born on on September 1, 1907, in Wheeling, West Virginia, toolanddie tradesman Walter Reuther traveled worldwide before taking up leadership roles using the Automobile Workers Union, going to head the Congress of Industrial Organizations. He became an important figure for workers’ rights, winning large, ground-breaking reforms for UAW members.His dad was a unionist and socialist, and the youthful Reuther was inspired by the thoughts discussed.
He later traveled through Europe with Victor, including a long stay working in the Soviet Union. He afterwards became notably anti Communist in his political orientation. After Reuther’s return to Detroit, he wed fellow activist May Wolf in 1936, using the couple happening to have two daughters.
Reuther took on leadership positions for the local United Automobile Workers chapter, eventually running the General Motors section of the corporation by the conclusion of the decade. In 1946 he became president of UAW and many years later won election to head the Congress of Industrial Organizations. A ruthless orator, Reuther directed strikes against Ford and General Motor and was instrumental in much of the important, humanistic reforms made for UAW members, including health insurance, pensions and job security adjustments.
Reuther confronted efforts on his life at the same time, together with his arm badly damaged following a failed assassination scheme in 1948. Victor was hurt badly from a subsequent assault at the same time. In 1955, the American Federation of Labor merged together with the CIO; George Meany headed the newest organization, with Reuther second in command. The two had exceptionally antagonistic views, and Reuther and the UAW left the AFL CIO in 1968. He later formed the Alliance for Labor Action using the Teamsters.
Reuther was likewise known for his links to the Civil Rights Movement, being a primary participant and speaker in the 1963 March on Washington. On May 9, 1970, Reuther was with his own wife and other passengers on a chartered airplane that crashed in Pellston, Michigan, killing all on board. The Walter P. Reuther Library was created at Wayne State University as a labour archive resource, with a corresponding on-line website as well.