UAW-Ford National Programs Center


 History

• The UAW-Ford National Programs Center sits on the original site of Fort Ponchartrain which was built by the French explorer Cadillac in 1701 and marks the founding of present day Detroit.

• In 1921 Detroit city fathers selected this present site as the land for a memorial to those Detroiters who had perished in the Spanish American and First World Wars.

• After World War II interest was renewed in constructing the War Memorial Building. It was to be the pioneer structure in the city’s effort to develop a new Civic Center which subsequently led to the building of a new City Hall, Federal Building, Ford Auditorium, and Cobo Hall.

• The Veterans Memorial Building was completed in 1950 and dedicated on June 11 of that year.

• The 30 feet tall victory eagle on the face of the building was sculpted by world-renowned and Detroit’s own Marshall Fredericks. The eagle holds olive branches representing peace and flies forward into the future while looking back in remembrance of the past.

• Also in 1950, in the first public meeting ever held in the building, Henry Ford II, Walter Reuther and others met to discuss Detroit’s future.

• In May, 1970, Walter and May Reuther laid in state following their tragic death in an airplane accident at Black Lake.

• Started renovation of the building in January 1995.

• Over 800 workers represented by 18 different unions performed 255,502 hours of union work.

• Dedicated as the UAW-Ford National Programs Center on October 1, 1997.

• A central focal piece of this magnificent facility is the life size bronze statue of Walter Reuther and Henry Ford II shaking hands across the Fordbargaining table. It is a most notable gesture in our business of labor/management cooperation.

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