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UAW President's Office: Owen Bieber Records

Identifier: LR001270

Scope and Content

Part I: The Owen Bieber presidential records, includes four series and provides extensive documentation of policies, programs and activities of the UAW. Beginning before and continuing until after his presidency, the records are comprised of Mr. Bieber's personal subject files and public appearance documentation including speeches and public events.

Important correspondents: Clinton, William Jefferson; Clinton, Hillary Rodham; Iacocca, Lee; Page, Leonard; Reuther, Alan; Forrest, Carolyn

Series Description: Series 1: Subject Files, 1970, 1982-1995 Series 2: Public Appearances, 1980-1994 Sub series A: Speeches, Sub series B: Public Events, Sub series C: Interviews and Related Correspondence, Series 3: Subject Files, 1976-1982 Series 4: Press clips and photo examples
Part II: Part 2 contains correspondence, reports, clippings, surveys, speeches, and committee minutes. The collection documents the UAW President’s Office from 1970-1995. The bulk of the collection is from 1984-1994.

Important correspondents: Donald Ephlin, Douglas Fraser, Odessa Komer, Ernie Lofton, Raymond Majerus, Stanley Marshall, Peter Pestillo, Donald Stillman, Marc Stepp, Stephen Yokich, Robert White

Series Description: Series 5: Correspondence Sub series A: Worker Adjustment and Readjustment Notification (WARN) letters, Sub series B: Letters of Opposition, Sub series C: Vehicle Complaints, Sub series D: Non-Union Requests, Sub series E: Union requests Series 6: Committee Memberships Series 7: Chrysler Board of Directors Series 8: International Executive Board Series 9: Subject Files Sub series A: AFL-CIO, Sub series B: General, Series 10: Convention Files, Sub series A: UAW, Sub series B: AFL-CIO


  • 1970 - 1995
  • Majority of material found within 1984 - 1994


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.
Part II: Series VIII, Boxes 100-108 require Restricted Use Form for access.


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 native of Michigan, Owen Bieber was born in North Dorr on December 28,1929. Bieber first joined the UAW in 1948 working as a wire-bender in a spring factory. His father was also an autoworker and member of the UAW. Bieber held multiple positions within the UAW including President of Local 687 Regional UAW Director and Vice-President of UAW.

Beginning at the 27th Constitutional Congress in Dallas, Owen Bieber was elected the 6th President of the UAW in 1983 succeeding Douglas Fraser. He served four consecutive terms. During his presidency, he was faced with challenging issues including the departure of the Canadian Auto Workers in 1985, the downsizing of American auto companies, and increasing competition from foreign auto companies.

Bieber is credited with diversifying the UAW by inviting new members from areas outside of industrial sectors to include both public and private associations. Active in the Democrat party, he became a political force advocating for working people on legislative issues and contributed to bringing President Clinton into the White House. He was vocal on legislation pertaining to national and international trade and the reformation of health care. On an international level, he lead the first trade unionist delegation to visit China meeting with Deng Xiaoping to acknowledge International Labor Day.

Succeeded in 1995 by Stephen Yokich, Owen Bieber retired at the age of 65.


186 Linear Feet (186 SB)


Owen Bieber began his career with the United Auto Workers in Michigan and went on to hold numerous regional and national positions before he was elected the UAW's sixth president in 1983, serving four terms. During his presidency, Canadian auto workers pulled out of the union, American auto companies downsized, and competition from foreign auto companies increased. He is credited with diversifying the UAW by inviting new members from areas outside industrial sectors. As president, Bieber also served on many state, local, and national committees, including presidential committees.

His records provide extensive documentation of UAW policies, programs, and activities largely during his tenure in office. Part 2, in particular, provides documentation of his work on various committees, as well as his role as second UAW President to serve on the Chrysler Board of Directors. These records also reflect Bieber’s role in the UAW re-alliance with the AFL-CIO, and include minutes of the International Executive Board, and UAW and AFL-CIO conventions.


Part I: Arranged in 4 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-7), Series 2 (Boxes 7-33), Series 3 (Boxes 32-33) and Series 4 (Box 33). Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject. The filing methods of both Series 1 and 2 were preserved in addition to the use of original folder titles with some clarifications added.
Part II: Arranged in 6 series - Series 5 (Boxes 34-58), Series 6 (Boxes 59-71), Series 7 (Boxes 71-75), Series 8 (Boxes 75-94), Series 9 (Boxes 94-174) and Series 10 (Boxes 174-186).

Folders are arranged alphabetically unless otherwise noted.


The records of UAW President Owen Bieber were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in multiple shipments from 1986 to 2006.

Related Materials

UAW International Executive Oral Histories, UAW Region 1 Records, UAW Local 687 Records, UAW President’s Office: Douglas Fraser Records, Douglas A. Fraser Papers


Stickers, buttons, posters and photographs were transferred to the Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Part I: Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library 2005.
Part II: Processed and finding written by Jeanette Olson on February 7, 2008.
Guide to the UAW President's Office: Owen Bieber 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