General Holiefield, the former United Auto Workers vice president responsible for the union’s Chrysler division as the US automaker underwent bankruptcy reorganization, was found dead in Detroit on Monday, aged 61.
Holiefield had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014 and his most notable achievements include becoming vice president of the UAW in 2006 with re-election in 2010 and the term’s conclusion in June last year. Holifield, who in the beginning started as a plant worker, was an UAW lifer, climbing the ranks of the union during a four decades membership to his role as vice president. He oversaw the union’s Chrysler, Heavy Truck and General Dynamics units. “Our union mourns the passing of the gentle giant and tireless activist for working women and men everywhere,” commented UAW President Dennis Williams in a statement. General was a dedicated trade unionist who helped UAW members at Chrysler through the dark days. He demonstrated tremendous insight and leadership through that period of uncertainty.”
Holifield was the executive administrative assistant of former UAW President Ron Gettelfinger from 2004 until he became vice president in 2006 and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles acknowledged his leadership that helped the union secure the future of the UAW-represented workers. The UAW vice president first affirmed himself in the mid 1970s, when he was employed at Chrysler’s assembly and axle plants in Detroit – he became active in UAW Local 961 and in 1995 he joined UAW’s international staff.
Via Automotive News