The recipient of 2004 Wu Manufacturing Leadership Award

Mr. Richard Shoemaker

Mr. Richard Shoemaker

Mr. Richard Shoemaker was elected vice president of the UAW in 1995 and re-elected in 1998 and 2002.  He directs the UAW GM Department, representing UAW members at GM and Delphi manufacturing plants and parts distribution operations throughout the United States. In addition, he directs the UAW Michigan Community Action Program. Under his leadership, the UAW in 2003 won a contract with GM that maintained full employer-paid health care and delivered solid economic gains for active and retired members, and also helped the improvement of GM’s competitiveness. The union also won investment and new business commitments to enhance job and income security for UAW members at Delphi.

Shoemaker, who directed the union’s Agricultural Implement Department from 1995 through 2002, also led the UAW’s bargaining team in negotiating a new agreement that successfully ended the union’s historic 60-year struggle with Caterpillar. Shoemaker joined UAW Local 865 in 1957 when he was hired at the Deere & Co. Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois. He rose quickly through the ranks of the local and, at age 27, was the youngest person elected as its president. He was appointed as an International Representative by then-UAW President Walter Reuther in 1969, an assistant director of UAW Region 4 in 1980, and an administrative assistant to then-UAW Vice President Stephen P. Yokich in 1982.  He joined the staff of then-UAW President Owen Bieber as top administrative assistant in 1984, and he was named Bieber’s executive administrative assistant in 1989.

Shoemaker serves on the boards of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan State AFL-CIO, National Safety Council, Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Character Education Partnership, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Inc., and Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan. He is a member of the MEDC Executive Committee, Democratic National Committee, Michigan Democratic Party, ACLU, and a life member of the NAACP.

Shoemaker was born on October 6,1939. He and his wife, Mary, have five children and live in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.