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UAW President's Office: Leonard Woodcock Records

Identifier: LR000262

Scope and Content

Part 1: Part 1 covers subjects such as UAW GM Dept.; IMF; NAACP; UAW locals and regions; civil rights; health care; National Commission on Productivity; and Alliance for Labor Action.

Series 1: General Union Files, 1968-1977, Series 2: Negotiations, 1970-1976, Series 3: Internal Studies, 1969-1976, Series 4: Jurisdictional Files, 1962-1968, Series 5: Alliance for Labor Action, 1967-1972, Series 6: Union Correspondence, 1970-1975, Series 7: Foreign Correspondence, 1970-1977, Series 8: Accepted and Rejected Invitations, 1970-1977, Series 9: Organizations and Activities, 1970-1977, Series 10: Personal Correspondence, 1970-1977, Series 11: Speeches and Testimony,1970-1977, Series 12: Clippings, 1970-1977

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Alliance for Labor Action National Commission on Productivity Civil Rights National Commission on Supplies and Shortages Commerce, Domestic and International Economy National Health Insurance Ford Motor Company National Urban Coalition General Motors Corporation Negotiations Health Care Richard M. Nixon International Metalworkers Federation Union Jurisdiction NAACP UAW Locals and Regions

Correspondents: William Beckham, Richard M. Nixon, Irving Bluestone, William Oliver, Donald Ephlin, Victor Reuther, Douglas Fraser, Walter Reuther, Melvin Glasser, Kenneth Robinson, Edward M, Kennedy, Jordan Rossen, Emil Mazey, Steven I. Schlossberg, George McGovern, Robert Walker, Ernest Moran, Nat Weinberg, Ken Morris.
Part 2: Part 2 represents subject files and International Executive Board files not represented in Office of the President Part I. The subject files provide information regarding negotiations and contract proposals with various companies. The International Executive Board Files demonstrate the interaction between the Office of the President and International Executive Board of the union. Series 13: Correspondence, 1968-1979, Series 14: General Subject Files, 1969-1977, Seires 15: IEB Meetings, 1976-1977, Series 16: Convention Files, 1961-1977

Important Subjects: Auto Negotiations International Executive Board Canada CAP


  • 1961 - 1977


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.


Leonard Woodcock was named President of the UAW in May 1970, following the death of Walter P. Reuther. He was elected to a full term at the union's 23rd Constitutional Convention in April, 1972, and re-elected in 1974. He retired in May 1977.

During his tenure as UAW President, Woodcock led the union in acquiring historic contract gains. In 1970, after a sixty-seven-day strike against General Motors, the union achieved a settlement restoring full cost-of-living benefits and early retirement after thirty years. The 1973 auto negotiations produced an even more liberal 30-and-out program, dental insurance, restrictions on overtime, improved COLA and SUB benefits, and stronger health and safety provisions. In 1976 the union won vision care and hearing aid benefits as well as reduced overtime.

While Woodcock devoted most of his attention to the union during these years, he also was involved with several organizations whose interests were parallel with those of the union, including the Committee for National Health Insurance, National Commissions on Productivity and on Supplies and Shortages, the Labor Management Advisory Council, and the National Urban Coalition.

Following his retirement, Woodcock was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to a position as Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China. He was the United States' first ambassador to that country since World War II, and served in that capacity until 1980.

Upon his return from China, Woodcock accepted a position in the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. He also has done occasional guest lectures for other departments, including law, economics, and political science.


125.5 Linear Feet (245 MB, 3 SB)


Leonard Woodcock was named President of the UAW in May 1970, following the death of Walter P. Reuther. He was elected to a full term in April, 1972, and again in 1974. In 1970 as UAW President Woodcock led a 67 day strike against General Motors which resulted in securing the “30 and out” retirement program and restoring full cost of living benefits. In the 1973 negotiations Woodcock secured further benefits for auto workers including dental insurance, restrictions on overtime, improved COLA and SUB benefits, and stronger health and safety benefits. In the 1976 negotiations the union won hearing aid and vision care as well as reduced overtime. Leonard retired from the UAW in 1977 and was succeeded by Douglas A. Fraser as union president. Following his retirement from the UAW, Woodcock was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to the position of Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China. He then became the first U.S. ambassador to the country since World War II. In 1980 Woodcock returned from China to accept a position in the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan.


Part 1: Arranged in 12 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-52), Series 2 (Boxes 52-65), Series 3 (Box 66), Series 4 (Boxes 66-67), Series 5 (Boxes 68-72), Series 6 (Boxes 72-160), Series 7 (Boxes 161-162), Series 8 (Boxes 163-186), Series 9 (Boxes 237-243) and Series 12 (Boxes 244-245).

Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Part 2: Arranged in 4 series - Series 13 (Boxes 247-248), Series 14 (Boxes 248-249), Series 15 (Box 249) and Series 16 (Boxes 249-250).

Series are arranged alphabetically by subject and within subject by date. Box and series numbering continues from Part 1.

Related Materials

UAW Vice President's Office: Ken Bannon Collection; UAW Vice President's Office: Leonard Woodcock Files; Woodcock Speeches Collection, 1970-1977


Part 1: Two photographs and a folder of political bumper stickers were placed in the Archives Audio Visual Collection. A storage box of books, pamphlets, and contracts has been placed in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Part 1: Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in August 1988.
Part 2: Proceessed by Jeanette Olson on July 9, 2009.
Guide to the UAW President's Office: Leonard Woodcock Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
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