UAW Black History Month Spotlight: Marc Stepp
Marc Stepp was moved to strive for social justice after what he saw during World War II. He was drafted into the Army right after beginning work at the Chrysler Highland Park Plant. In the Army he saw the authoritarian regimentation of the military which led to his belief that unions are key to individuals having a strong voice in an organization. When he returned to Chrysler, he began years of devotion to union ideals and held numerous leadership positions in UAW Local 490. From 1974 to 1989, he served as vice president of the UAW Chrysler Department. After negotiating steep concessions in the 1979 contract when Chrysler faced tremendous financial difficulties, Stepp lobbied Congress for $1.5 billion in loan guarantees for the company, and then oversaw difficult negotiations for another round of concessions from membership totaling $462.5 million. Always a firm believer in workers having input on the job, in 1980 he helped create the UAW/ Chrysler product quality improvement program, and helped develop modern operating agreements at several Chrysler plants to pave the way for better cooperation between management and workers.
His desire to serve didn’t wane after retirement; he became executive director of urban affairs and community relations at the University of Detroit.
Read more about the black leaders who have contributed to the history of the UAW…