Congressman Dingell, Doug Fraser receive Reuther Humanitarian Award

Congressman John D. Dingell, who represents the City of Taylor in Washington, DC, and Douglas A. Fraser, president emeritus of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and current university professor of labor studies at Wayne State University, are the recipients of the Walter P. Reuther Humanitarian Award.

The award, which was presented October 26 by Wayne State University, has only been given to two other luminaries since its inception: civil rights pioneers Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and Rosa Parks.

The honor is named for the late Walter P. Reuther, 13-term president of the UAW. Reuther was a pioneer in the modern civil rights and environmental movements. Under his leadership, the UAW led the union movement in the establishment of the guaranteed annual income, supplemental unemployment benefits, funded pensions and several other groundbreaking achievements.

Dingell, representing Michigan’s 15th District, is referred to as the “Dean of the House” for having served the longest tenure in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives. He has developed a reputation as a champion for working families who keeps America’s economy strong; a crusader for our nation’s natural heritage; and the leading voice in Congress for making health care affordable and accessible to all families. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of his service in the U.S. House. Only one other House Member has served as long.

Over the last five decades, Dingell has written numerous laws protecting our health and our environment, as well as the rights of workers and consumers. Notable examples are the 1990 Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Mammography Quality Standards Act.

An avid conservationist and outdoorsman, and senior member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, Dingell successfully passed legislation to create North America’s first international wildlife refuge, protecting thousands of acres of natural habitat in Southeast Michigan and Canada.

Fraser, called “the man who never lost touch” and “the labor leader everyone respects,” rose through the ranks to become the UAW’s sixth international president, a position he held until his retirement in 1983.

While working alongside Reuther, Fraser emerged as a tough bargainer and negotiator on behalf of the rank and file. In 1964, the Reuther-Fraser team led the union's bargaining committee at Chrysler where the UAW won its historic early retirement program. In 1967, they led negotiations at Chrysler and won the first U.S.-Canada wage parity agreement.

In 1973, Fraser led the bargaining team at Chrysler settling such issues as restrictions on compulsory overtime, a comprehensive health and safety program, improved "30 and Out" early retirement plan, dental care and accelerated arbitration. Another historic breakthrough occurred in 1979 when the UAW won union representation on the Chrysler Board of Directors. Fraser was subsequently elected to the Board of Directors in 1980.