Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Professor B. J. Widick, at BJ in 1930s, dies at 97

Professor B. J. Widick, age 97, passed away Saturday, June 28, 2008.

Known as "B.J." or "Jack," he was born on October 25, 1910, in the Serbian village of Okucani, and was brought by his father to the U.S. just prior to World War I. After graduating from the University of Akr
on, he found work as a journalist at the Akron Beacon Journal [1933-36] and then became involved in the 1930's Labor Movement, setting up a research department and newspaper for the Rubber Workers' union, and assisting in the '36-'37 Flint-GM sit-down strike by the Auto Workers. In 1937, he spent time in Mexico with Leon Trotsky as well as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. After serving as a sergeant in World War II, he cleared his name before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and exonerated others of alleged CP membership in the 1950's. He said Walter Reuther had never joined the party, explaining: "I do not believe he could ever have subordinated himself to the mediocrities who ran the Party." He also in the 1950's served as a chief steward of UAW Local 7 and worked toward his Master's degree in economics from Wayne State University where he taught before becoming a professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business. Over the years he authored numerous articles and books, including Detroit: City of Race and Class Violence. He retired from Columbia in 1983 and spent his remaining years in Ann Arbor.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; sons, Brian and Marshall; daughter-in-law, Patty; and granddaughter, Lydia.
[Beacon Journal, Akron, OH,Wednesday, July 2, 2008, page B5, col. 5 ]

Here is supplemental information on Widick:

Oct 25, 1910-June 28, 2008

Nationality: Yugoslavian
Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002.

Family: Born October 25, 1910, in Yugoslavia; son of Joseph and Angelina Widick; married 2nd wife, Barbara, December 30, 1966. Education: University of Akron, B.A., 1933; Wayne State University, M.A., 1962. Politics: Independent. Military/Wartime Service: U.S. Army and U.S. Army Air Corps, 1942-45. Memberships: Industrial Relations Research Association (member of advisory council, 1960-61). Addresses: Home: 560 Riverside Dr., New York, N.Y. 10027. Office: Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, N.Y. 10027.

Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, reporter, 1933-36; United Rubber Workers Union, research director, 1937; United Automobile Workers, Detroit, Mich., plant union official, 1947-59, economist on Walter Reuther's research staff, 1960-61; University of Michigan-Wayne State University Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, Detroit, Mich., lecturer, 1960-62; Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich., member of adjunct faculty, economics department, 1962, associate professor of economics, 1968-69; Columbia University, Graduate School of Business, New York, N.Y., adjunct professor, 1963; Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, research associate and economic consultant, 1963--; Columbia University, Graduate School of Business, associate professor, 1969--. Labor Extension Service and United Automobile Workers adult education program, teacher, 1950-60. Nation, correspondent, 1958-60.


* (With Irving Howe) The UAW and Walter Reuther, Random House, 1949.

* Labor Today: The Triumphs and Failures of Unionism in the United States, Houghton, 1964.

* Detroit: City of Race and Class Violence, Quadrangle, 1972, revised edition, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1989.

* (With J. F. Otero) Alternative Perspectives on Labor's Foreign Policy: Three Papers Presented at a Conferece on Labor and International Affairs Education, May 1974, Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 1974.

* (Editor) Auto Work and Its Discontents, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1976.

Co-author of A New Focus on Detroit and Michigan's Economy (monograph), Wayne State University Press, 1963. Contributor of articles to New Republic, Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Monthly Labor Review.

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