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History of Local 985

History of the National organization

Local 985 Headquarters, as it appeared in 1951

4 Past Presidents of Local 985

Lower right: Fred Schultz, President 1987-1995

2nd from right: Rollie Cary, President 1981-1984

Lower left: John Ellis, President 1951-1981

2nd from left: Robert Kutscheid, President 1984-1987

Significant Events, Local 985

November 25, 1941:

UAW Local 985 Charter adopted and signed by President

R. J. Thomas, (then) future President Walter P. Reuther,

Financial Secretary/Treasurer George F Addes, and the entire executive board of the International union UAW.


Twenty-eight year old Sammy Mackey elected first President of the new local union. Sammy had become a close personal friend of Walter Reuther and over the next 8 years would work feverishly to organize and build Local 985 from the ground to some 2000 members from over 40 plants.

October 31, 1952:

President Sammy Mackey (at 36 years of age) died suddenly and unexpectedly of a massive heart attack leaving behind a young wife Helen and three sons, Michael, Ronnie, and Dennis ages 9, 7, and 3 respectively. "Sammy gave the best years of his short life to humane causes both in and out of labor and we know now that the pace shortened his years." At that time there was no economic assistance planned or available to assist Helen Mackey with the raising of her three young sons considering the loss of their daddy. Trustee John Ellis worked hard for over 18 months to raise funds to assist with this cause.

1953: John Ellis elected President of Local 985

There are not enough words to express the years of hard work and dedication given to the labor movement and specifically to UAW Local 985 by this talented and driven Labor Leader. It was often said that "organizing" was John Ellis' middle name. On several occasions President Ellis was asked by Regional Director Marcellius Ivory to accept a position with the International Union. Each time John gratefully declined in favor of remaining as Local Union President and continuing to build the Local Union of his dreams. A book could easily be written about this great man, but suffice it for now to say that he remained president of Local 985 for almost 30 years and with the help of many others, succeeded in building this Local union to over 4800 members out of some 85 plants. Around 1979 the bottom seemed to fall out as plants began to close up and move south chasing cheap labor. In 1981 John Ellis retired, but in the same year he returned to assist with a very difficult case which he had been working on for months. John never made it back to the airport that evening as he suffered a third and this time fatal heart attack.

Significant Events, National Organization

May 1935


February 1937

May 1937








May 1970








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