MotorCities National Heritage Area
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2 VICTOR REUTHER TITLE1941

 

Born in West Virginia in 1912, Victor Reuther was perhaps best known as one of Walter Reuther’s younger brothers. But Victor had an illustrious career of his own in the labor movement, including in Southwest Detroit as a participant in the December 1936 sit-down strike at Kelsey-Hayes, a major parts supplier, and as an organizer for UAW Local 174, which represented a number of plants in that section of the city. Victor was among the leaders of the GM Flint Sit-Down strike of 1936-37, playing a key role in pivotal the Battle of the Running Bulls confrontation. 

He went on to hold several major positions in the UAW, including as director of the Education and International Affairs Departments, after serving in a similar capacity with the CIO prior to its merger with the AFL. In a period when the AFL championed hardline cold war policies, he charted an alternate course, forging close working relations with Social-Democratic political parties and their affiliated unions in Western Europe, African, and Asia. In the late 1960s, he emerged as a leader of labor organizations opposing the Vietnam War. Victor held a strong belief in democracy and in organized labor as an essential force protecting it from corporate domination. Late in his life, and consistent with his commitment to democracy, Victor lent his support to those seeking to give the rank-in-file more of a voice in selecting the most senior UAW officials.

 

Recommended Reading:

The autobiography, "The Brothers Reuther” (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976)

 

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