Executive Council Statement

On the Retirement of Dennis Williams

The AFL-CIO Executive Council thanks our brother Dennis Williams for a lifetime of service to the labor movement and for his unwavering leadership as president of the UAW at a decisive crossroads for millions of working people.

Williams was a visionary but also a pragmatist, always looking for new ways to win more of the pie for the hardworking men and women he represented. A proud Marine, he was never afraid to boldly challenge the wave of anti-worker attacks plaguing our nation. He put forward an ambitious organizing strategy, including a push for union representation at foreign-owned automakers in the United States.

In the throes of the Great Recession, Williams acknowledged that the UAW had “looked death in the eyes.”

Williams was the right leader at the right time, tackling that challenge without hesitation. During his tenure, the UAW grew bigger, stronger and more fiscally secure. From college campuses in New England to assembly plants in Detroit, he expanded his union’s reach and secured its future at the heart of America’s labor movement. And as chair of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, he led our efforts to revive America’s manufacturing base.

Always driven by an undying commitment to his members, he has ensured that more, not fewer, working people will enjoy the rights and dignities that come with a union card.

This is Dennis Williams’ legacy, felt in workplaces and homes across the country—and it is one for which we are forever grateful. We wish him a long and happy retirement.