Fifty-two years ago on May 9, our union and the world lost a great leader – Walter Reuther. Walter, his wife May, architect Oskar Stonorov, bodyguard William Wolfman, and pilots George Evans and Joseph Karrafa perished in a plane crash in Pellston, Michigan.
In our union, Reuther is a larger than life figure who inspires us to this day. In life, he challenged members and leaders to join together in solidarity to fight for a better world. He was innovative at the bargaining table, always thinking about how to create real economic security and equity for members. He was in the fight with civil rights leaders during some of the most dangerous days of the struggle. He was tireless in his devotion to our union which often put him in personal peril, having been the target of two assassination attempts.
Reuther died while on his way to visit Black Lake shortly before its opening. It was his dream to build a retreat for members where we could learn, debate and deepen our commitment to solidarity. It is a testament to all of you that we have continued to carry out that mission at both Black Lake and in other educational settings throughout our union.
We remember his words and work and honor his legacy. We encourage everyone to reflect on his life and the continuing mission of our union to fight for a better world.
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