Owen Bieber, Auto Workers’ President During Period of Decline, Dies at 90
Mr. Bieber joined McInerney Spring and Wire Company, whereby his father worked. He bent twine to create seat frames for Cadillacs and Hudsons.“You required to bend 8- and 9-gauge spring twine, typically 5 wires at a time,” he recalled. “It become a tough job. once the primary hour in there, I felt like merely deed. If my father hadn’t worked there, too, I all told probability would’ve.”His union upward thrust became steady but now not fast. In 1949, he become named steward of native 687, covering urban center. He became the native president in 1956. In 1964, he become named the personal aide of Kenneth Robinson, director of the union’s affairs in Western Michigan.
When Mr. Robinson retired in 1974, Mr. Bieber succeeded him, and control the post until 1980, whereas he was nonappointive a vice chairman of the broad U.A.W., a promoting that positioned him within the union’s commonality House headquarters in city. President Fraser appointed him to steer the negotiations that made the concessionary settlement with G.M.
He become a compromise need for the presidency, nonappointive by method of union delegates at a rustic wide convention. He wasn’t widely known the assorted rank and file. He become an enormous man — vi feet, five inches and 250 pounds — with none of the Reuther air of secrecy or the Fraser status. Plain-spoken and genial, he was the primary U.A.W. leader WHO had not been close to man. Reuther.
Mr. Bieber had a seat on Chrysler’s board from 1984 to 1991. He given his $30,000 annual director’s rate to a nation university. As president of a primary union, he become not extremely paid — $103,938 once he retired in 1995. He lived in Sixth Baron Byron of Rochdale Center, Mich., and had a lake bungalow at Baldwin, Mich.Like on the far side U.A.W. Presidents, Mr. Bieber supported Democrats and liberal causes. In 1986, he painted the A.F.L.-C.I.O. In mounting a boycott of yankee firms doing business with South Africa’s social policy government. Nelson Mandela, travel the U.S.A. once his launch from jail in 1990, stopped in city to give thanks man. Bieber for his support.
“Looking back, I feel pretty correct concerning what we have a tendency to were able to do underneath robust circumstances,” he explicit in 2017. “And I feel pretty precise more or less man. Mandela. Coleman Young, the civil authority of city, and that i met his plane on the airfield. individuals had been waving to him as we have a tendency to came in on the state highway. There was a ceremony out at stream Rouge, and therefore the following day man. nationalist leader and that i walked put together aboard the riverfront.”