Union Hall named in honor of longtime UAW leader

FLINT TWP. — In a special celebration on Sunday, December 10,, UAW Local 598 Union Hall was renamed the “UAW Local 598 Ruben Burks Union Hall” in honor of its longtime leader, according to a press release.

“It is the desire of Local 598 to honor such a dedicated UAW leader and lifelong community activist for his decades of service to UAW members and the people of his surrounding communities,” the press release stated.

Burks has been a member of Local 598, UAW since 1955 starting as an assembler at the former Fisher Body Plant 2 of General Motors. He served Local 598 members in various capacities, including elected positions such as alternate committee person and upward to shop committee and a Local 598 Executive board member.

In 1970 he was appointed by then UAW President Walter Reuther to the International Union Staff in Region 1C where he serviced UAW member in General Motors and independents, parts and supplier plants. Ruben served as assistant director of Region 1c from June of 1983 until 1989 when he was elected as Regional Director at the UAW’s 29th Constitutional Convention. He served 3 terms as the Region 1C Director.

Ruben Burks was elected to the UAW’s second highest office as secretary treasurer on June 24, 1988 by the delegates of the 32nd UAW Constitutional Convention.

Burks is a long-time community activist involved in numerous civic, charitable and youth organizations in the Flint community Including the Women’s Council, Labor Museum, UAW General Motors Sub Council 2, UAW Michigan Cap Chair, the Special Olympics, March of Dimes Red Cross and Easter Seals.

Burks became the first Labor Leader elected to chair the board of trustees of the United Way of Genesee and Lapeer Counties. He has also served as director of the Flint Urban League, Goodwill, Flint Tall Pine Council, the Sam Duncan Memorial Scholarship Fund and as a member of the advisory board of the University of Michigan-Flint. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP and a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

A celebration was held at the Holiday Inn Gateway Center in Mundy Twp.

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