WHEELING - During a conference at Oglebay Park last weekend the United Auto Workers West Virginia Community Action Council made its annual trip to Wheeling's waterfront to clean the statue of the late Walter Reuther - a Wheeling-born labor movement leader of the UAW.
Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation Executive Director Jeremy Morris said the council has made it a point to visit the statue once a year in early April to make sure the statue and surrounding area is spruced up a bit.
"They come down and wash the statue off and clean it up, and they pull weeds and put in some mulch. They just generally clean it up," said Morris, who continues to represent WNHAC at the annual event. "We all became very good friends over the course of developing that statue and during the installation process."
United Auto Workers West Virginia Community Action Council member Paul Dietz polishes the statue of the late Walter Reuther, a
Wheeling-born labor movement leader of the UAW.
Morris said their basic goal while visiting the waterfront is to honor the legacy of Reuther by taking care of the statue that honors his life as a labor movement leader with the UAW.
Morris said the UAW paid $100,000 for the statue and surrounding granite foundation when it was erected in October 2006 along the Heritage Trail in front of WesBanco Arena. He said WNHAC paid for the design services in creating the area where the statue stands, along with the colorful signs that interpret the history of Reuther's life.
Reuther, who was born in Wheeling in 1907, became president of the UAW in 1946 and in 1952 became president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. He is still seen by many as a working-class hero in the struggle for economic and social justice.