President of the United Auto Workers
Woodcock, Leonard Freel, 1911-2000, American labor leader, b. Providence, R.I. In 1933 he went to work as a machine assembler at the Detroit Gear and Machine Co., where he joined a union that became a United Automobile Workers (UAW) local a few years later. He served (1947-55) as regional director for UAW in Michigan, and from 1955 to 1970 he was vice president of the union, in charge of the General Motors and aerospace departments. In 1970 he succeeded his mentor, Walter Reuther, as president of UAW, the second largest union in the United States. In 1977 he retired from the union and was named head of the U.S. liaison mission in Beijing. After playing a pivotal role in negotiating the establishment of full diplomatic relations with China in 1979, Woodcock served (1979-81) as ambassador. He later taught at the Univ. of Michigan.