Labor Matters: A Tribute to Auto Workers
The Automobile The Factory The Workers The Union Patriotism Democracy Teamwork Progress

Additional Resources:
Auto Worker and UAW History


A Strong Union in a Changing World: UAW, Issued by the Commission on the Future of the (International Union, UAW,Detroit, MI, 1989)

Babson, Steve, Building the Skilled Workers and Anglo-Gaelic Immigrants in the Rise of the UAW (Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, NJ, 1991)

Highlights the role played by skilled workers and workers born in the British Isles in the building of the UAW.

Babson, Steve with Ron Alpern, Dave Elsila, and John Revitte, Working Detroit: The Making of a Union Town (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI, 1984)

A very readable history of workers and unions in the Detroit area.

Barnard, John, American Vanguard:The United Auto Workers During the Reuther Years, 1935–1970 (Wayne State University Press, January 2004)

Barnard, John, Walter Reuther and the Rise of the Auto Workers (Little, Brown, Boston, MA, 1987)

A relatively short and very readable biography of Walter Reuther.  This book does a good job of placing Reuther and the UAW in the context of American history and exploring Reuther’s role in the changes in American society.

Boyle, Kevin, The UAW and the heyday of American liberalism, 1945-1968 (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1995)

Cormier, Frank and William J. Eaton, Reuther (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1970)

Begun when Walter Reuther was still alive and finished after his death in a plane crash, this emotional book covers Reuther’s entire life and career.

Fine, Sidney, Sit-Down: The General Motors Strike of 1936-1937  (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1969)

A very thorough description of the events leading up to the single most important event in the history of the UAW, the sit-down strike itself, and the results of the strike for the UAW, the companies and the labor movement.

Gabin, Nancy, Feminism in the Labor Movement: Women and the United Auto Workers, 1935-1975 (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY 1990)

A forthright account of the struggle for equality for women within the UAW, the industry and society.

Howe, Irving J. and B.J. Widick, The UAW and Walter Reuther (Random House, New York, 1949)

Written shortly after Reuther’s election to the UAW presidency, this book concentrates on the UAW factional battles and Reuther’s rise to power.

Kraus, Henry, The Many and the Few: A Chronicle of the Dynamic Autoworkers (Plantin Press, Los Angeles, CA, 1947)

A history of the sit-down strike by an insider: the editor of the organizing newspaper.

Lichtenstein, Nelson, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor (Basic Books, New York, NY, 1995)

The most recent and thorough account of the career of Walter Reuther and his influence on the UAW, the labor movement, the industry and American society.

Meier, August and Elliott Rudwick, Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW (Oxford University, New York, 1979)

The story of black workers and the efforts of the union to win the loyalty of black workers as the UAW organized at Ford and other companies.

Meyer, Stephen, The Five Dollar Day: Labor, Management, and Social Kraus, Henry, The Many and the Few: A Chronicle of the Dynamic Autoworkers (Plantin Press, Los Angeles, CA, 1947)

Control in the Ford Motor Company, 1908-1921 (SUNY Press, Albany, NY, 1981)

An analysis of the Five-Dollar Day instituted by the Ford Motor Company in 1914 and its impact upon workers and working life in the company.

Peterson, Joyce Shaw, American Automobile Workers, 1900-1933 (SUNY Press, Albany, NY, 1987)

A look at auto workers in the pre-UAW era. The book describes work, community and the early efforts to organize the industry.

Reuther, Walter P., Selected Papers, edited by Henry M. Christman, (The MacMillan Company, New York, 1961)

This collection includes selections from Walter Reuther’s speeches and writings from 1940 to 1960.

Reuther, Victor, The Brothers Reuther and the Story of the UAW: A Memoir (Houghton-Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1976)

An insider’s view of the story of the Reuthers and their role in the building of the UAW.

Archival Materials

Greater Buffalo Industrial Union Council (CIO), Records, 1937-1958

Includes general administrative records, materials relating to labor legislation, relations with member organizations, relations with New York State Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and the national CIO, relations with international labor organizations and with the public. Specific issues covered in these records include employment stabilization after World War II; unemployment insurance and workmen''s compensation; industrial safety and hygiene; jurisdictional disputes and raiding between the Niagara, N.Y. locals of the United Automobile Workers and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers; strikes at Remington Rand, Bell Aircraft, and the National Carbon Company; and the merger of American Federation of Labor (A.F. of L.) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions in Buffalo.

Contact the ILR Library''s Kheel Center Archives

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias 

American Federation of Labor, American Federation of Labor: History, Encyclopedia, Reference Book (Greenwood Publishing, 1977)

World Wide Web Resources 

Welcome to the UAW
Home page of the UAW International Union with links to news, magazines and other related sites.

Walter P. Reuther Library
Includes a biography of Walter P. Reuther that details his efforts to organize unions in the automotive industry and his work as president of the UAW and another of Doug Fraser’s devotion to the labor movement, and details of his presidency of the UAW.

Working Class Hero, Walter Reuther by Irving Bluestone
Time magazine’s account of Reuther’s involvement in the union movement and the UAW.

Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs at the Walter P. Reuther Library
Wayne State University established the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs at the Walter P. Reuther Library ( in 1960 to collect and preserve the records of the American labor movement, with particular emphasis on documenting the history of automobile workers and their union. We recommend the following online resources from their collection:

  • Union Sources for Working-Class History: Automobile Workers and the UAW
    This site features the paper "Union Sources for Working-Class History: Automobile Workers and the UAW " by Margaret Raucher.
Return to mural

Last Updated: 10/12/2005