Doug Fraser

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Doug Fraser (died February, 2008) was a leader of the the United Auto Workers from Detroit.

Life of activism

Shortly after becoming UAW president in 1977, Doug led a delegation to press President Jimmy Carter for health security legislation, testified before Congress on energy and health bills, faced reporters on ‘Meet the Press,’ and addressed several union meetings.

At his first press conference at UAW headquarters, Doug endorsed the push by consumer advocates to build safer cars, with air bags and automatic seat belts. “I think the autoworkers,” he said, “are free to take a position on any social question.”

Doug led UAW members in marching for the Equal Rights Amendment, lobbied with Coretta Scott King for the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, called for a freeze on car prices, and withdrew UAW funds from banks that provided loans to South Africa.

In July 1978, furious at a big business campaign to scuttle a modest program of labor law reform, Doug resigned from the Labor-Management Group, a top-level forum for union and Industry Leaders, In a scathing letter of resignation, Doug accused business elites of waging a “one-sided class war’” against workers, the unemployed, the poor and minorities.

DSOC "Initiator"

According to the December 29, 1979, issue of Information Digest, the "initiators" of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (forerunner of Democratic Socialists of America) , formed in 1973 as a result of a split within the Socialist Party USA, largely over the issue of cooperation with communists, included Julian Bond, Heather Booth, John Conyers, Ronald Dellums, Douglas Fraser, Joyce Miller, William Winpisinger, and Jerry Wurf.

Consumers Opposed to Inflation in the Necessities

An article posted in the September, 1979 edition of Democratic Left by Jane Midgley:[1]

ACCUSING PRESIDENT CARTER of continuing the "Nixon-Ford energy ripoff," William Winpisinger, president of the International Association of Machinists and vice-chair of DSOC, kicked off discussion of the present energy situation at the first of a series of teach-ins on inflation. Organized by Consumers Opposed to Inflation in the Necessities (COIN), the June 27 Washington, D.C. teach-in brought together groups that want to curb inflation.


A fall offensive to combat energy inflation was announced by Heather Booth, head of the Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition...COIN Executive Director Roger Hickey noted that COIN is a "self interest coalition," since inflation threatens everyone's livelihood. More than 70 groups belong to COIN..."


"United Auto Workers President Douglas Fraser criticized the administration's policy of slowing economic growth as an anti-inflationary measure."


"The COIN analysis quotes Council on Wage and Price Stability Director Barry Bosworth as estimating that about one million additional unemployed and a loss of $100 billion in output would lower the inflation rate by only one percentage point.


"Mark Green, director of Congress Watch, attacked another supposed cure for inflation-weaker environmental and health and safety regulation. Calling regulation a 'scapegoat' for inflation, he urged continuing government regulation to control corporate abuse."

Democratic Agenda

Along with Michael Harrington, founder of Democratic Socialists of America, Doug Fraser co-chaired[2]the Democratic Agenda caucus at the 1978 midterm Democratic Party convention in Memphis which challenged the centrist and corporate-driven domestic budget priorities of the Carter Administration.

Democratic Agenda/Socialist Caucus

For groups and organizations seeking radical social change within the Democratic Party, the National Convention of 1980 had at least one historic first - formation of a Socialist Caucus of delegates. Organized by the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee and by the Democratic Agenda which was DSOC's cadre and supporters within the Democratic Party and was based in DSOC' s New York office and at 1730 M Street, NW, Washington, DC. Some 31 delegates and alternates from twelve states and Democrats Abroad attended the Socialist Caucus.

As a preliminary to the convention's Socialist Caucus meeting, , indeed as a "building event" and as a continued show of support for Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the Democratic Agenda sponsored a convention rally at New York's Town Hall. The speakers included Herman Badillo, Julian Bond, Fran Bennick, Harry Britt, Cesar Chavez, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI}, Douglas Fraser, Murray Finley, Michael Harrington, Terry Herndon, Ruth Jordan, Ruth Messinger, Eleanor Smeal, Gloria Steinem and William Winpisinger.

DSOC works within the Democratic Party, said Harrington, because of the party's relationships with organized workers, blacks, feminists, environmentalists and other "progressive groups."

The Socialist Caucus circulated a list of convention delegates who were caucus members, including;[3]


In 1981 Douglas Fraser was a Vice President of Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization[4].

Institute for Policy Studies

In 1993 Doug Fraser was listed[5] among former "Trustees" of the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington DC.

DSA honor

Detroit Democratic Socialists of America, honored Fraser with its Douglass-Debs award in 2004.

Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center

In 2007, Doug Fraser was a member of the Honorary Host Committee for the Essential: Advocacy for Workplace Justice Reception & Silent Auction. The reception, which was held on Nov. 14, 2007 is the annual fundraising event to benefit the far left National Lawyers Guild-affiliated Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice. The guest of honor at the reception was Andy Levin, son of Congressman Sander Levin, and Deputy Director at the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth.[6]



  1. [September, 1979 edition of Democratic Left by Jane Midgley (accessed July 2, 2022)]
  3. Information Digest, Septemer 19, 1980, p 333
  4. IVI-IPO Letterhead July 23 1981
  5. Institute for Policy Studies 30th Anniversary brochure
  6. Sugar Law website: Essential: Advocacy for Workplace Justice 2007 Event flyer (accessed on Feb. 11, 2011)