William Goldmann, a veteran of the labor wars of the 1930s and ‘40s who helped organize the United Auto Workers on the West Coast and figured in a groundbreaking union trial, is dead.
His son, William Goldmann Jr., said this week that his father died Nov. 7 in Las Vegas, where he had been living since he retired more than 20 years ago. The senior Goldmann was 85.
Goldmann began his union career in Los Angeles in the early 1930s, when he tried to organize meatpackers at a local plant. He was fired and went to work for Chrysler Corp., where he helped formulate the 1937 sit-down strike that resulted in recognition of the UAW.
In 1939, he and 14 other Chrysler union leaders were charged with extorting dues from Chrysler workers by threatening them with the loss of their jobs. But a Superior Court jury found them innocent. The case was believed to be the first of its kind in the nation and helped establish the right of unions to collect dues from members.
One of the attorneys representing the unionists was A. L. Wirin, who went on to head the American Civil Liberties Union in Los Angeles.
After World War II, Goldmann served on the staff of the International Auto-Aerospace Union and was promoted to assistant director of the UAW for the Northwest in 1952.
After his retirement, Goldmann helped establish the Nevada Council of Senior Citizens.
Besides his son, he is survived by his wife, Pauline, and seven grandchildren.