UAW IEB members remember President Emeritus Owen Bieber

President Rory L. Gamble: “Owen Bieber’s death is a loss for our union and all working people. He was a man of incredible leadership. He was not afraid of tough battles or taking a stand on controversial issues, ” said UAW president Rory L. Gamble. “He was not only a devoted trade unionist but a social activist whose impact was felt around the world. Whether it was his support to end apartheid in South Africa or in Poland, Owen stood on the right side of history for the nation and the world. ”

Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry: “The UAW and workers everywhere are saddened by the death of Owen Bieber and in debt to the great UAW president for standing up to power to defeat injustice, whether it was in the boardroom or the halls of political power in the U.S. or anywhere in the world. His legacy is a lasting lesson about the dignity of workers and the importance of standing by those who struggle for human rights anywhere in the world.”

Vice President Terry Dittes: “Owen Bieber’s legacy is strong because of his courage, plain and simple. Whether it was facing down company executives disrespecting workers, police who arrested him in South Africa while protesting apartheid, the Reagan administration’s Nicaraguan policies or anti-Solidarity officials working against him and Lech Walesa in Poland, he stood for the right path when it came to labor, civil and human rights. He will be missed and remembered.”

Vice President Cindy Estrada: “Owen Bieber’s death reminds us of the power of commitment to what’s right and just, the power of labor solidarity during collective bargaining, and the power of putting yourself and your beliefs on the line when facing an uphill battle here at home in factories and around the globe. Workers and those who believe in civil and human rights have broad shoulders to stand on thanks to Owen Bieber.”

Vice President Gerald Kariem: “We pay tribute to Owen Bieber, a man who led the UAW through turbulent times. He not only stood by workers when managers wanted to right the company ship on the backs of labor, he stood hand in hand with imprisoned and persecuted union activists and human rights advocates here in the U.S., in Europe and in South Africa. He was a model of trade unionism at its best and we thank him for his sacrifices.”

Region 1 Director Frank Stuglin: “UAW members in Region 1 salute the bravery and dedication of Owen Bieber, who showed us the importance of putting beliefs into action whether they be at the collective bargaining table advocating for workers facing wage cuts or facing down apartheid authorities in South Africa over the injustice of a brutal governing system.”

Region 1A Director Chuck Browning: “The entire membership of UAW Region 1A mourns the death of our great leader, Owen Bieber. He invoked the power of solidarity through his achievements in collective bargaining and by fighting against injustices throughout the world. President Bieber exemplified all that is good in our Union.”

Region 1D Director Steve Dawes: “Region 1D is the proud home region of Owen Bieber, a leader whose legacy is felt here in Region 1D and around the world. We thank him for his dedication to UAW members and workers around the globe. His death is a loss for us all.”

Region 2B Director Rich Rankin: “The death of Owen Bieber reminds us of the debt we owe him for his courage in standing up for the rights of workers during collective bargaining and for the civil and human rights of all people throughout the world, from the U.S. to Poland to South Africa.”

Region 4 Director Ron McInroy: “Owen Bieber was one of the greats. He negotiated historic contracts for this union. He cared about protecting members no matter if they belonged to the Big Three or small auto suppliers. He will be missed.”

Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith: “We were very fortunate to have a leader like Owen Bieber. Many years after retirement he remained beloved by members. It was always a special treat to have him attend a convention or conference. Everyone wanted a few minutes to thank him for his leadership.”

Region 9 Director Jeff Binz: “Owen was a courageous leader. He stood up against oppression in other parts of the world and it made a difference in lives across the globe. He will be remembered for his leadership and courage.”

Region 9A Director Beverley Brakeman: “It was under Bieber’s watch that the UAW merged with District 65, adding thousands to UAW‘s ranks from a diversity of sectors outside of auto. Owen’s vision is largely responsible for bringing in new members across the country, including legal services and legal aid attorneys and staff, university administrative professionals, freelance writers, academic and cultural institution workers, print and direct mail staff and more.  A leader ahead of his time, Bieber left the UAW a stronger union and for that he will always be remembered.  May he rest in power and peace.”