Former United Auto Workers President Owen Bieber dies at age 90

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DETROIT (WJRT) (2/17/2020) - Former United Autoworkers President Owen Bieber has died, the union confirmed on Monday.

He was 90.

Bieber led the UAW for 12 years from 1983 to 1995.

He was born and raised in a small West Michigan community outside of Grand Rapids. At age 18, his first job was bending thick border wire on car seats by hand.

Bieber went on to serve as the director of UAW Region 1D and later led the union's General Motors Department -- the largest one at the time with more than 400,000 members.

Current UAW President Rory Gamble issued the following statement in reaction to Bieber's death on Monday:

"Owen Bieber 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."