Led negotiations during year-long strike
Northern Life was unable to immediately contact Fraser, but his retirement was confirmed by Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand.
Fraser will be replaced by Marty Warren until District 6 members are able to vote to choose a new director, Bertrand said.
District 6 covers Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and has more than 74,000 members.
Fraser was hired at Inco's Sudbury plant in 1969 and was elected to Steelworkers Local 6500's executive board in 1976, according to a biography on District 6's website.
He served as a leader in the eight-and-a-half-month-long strike against Inco in 1978, appointed to Steelworkers staff in 1986, promoted to area co-ordinator in 1991 and District 6 director in 2001.
Fraser has been Local 6500's chief negotiator for many years, including during the recent year-long strike against Vale.
“It was tough times,” Bertrand said. “(The strike) was nobody's fault. Everyone had a role to do. We were dealing with a different company that nobody's used to.”
Fraser has “done a lot for the labour movement” and for Local 6500 members, he said.
“He'll be missed,” Bertrand said.
“He's been representing Local 6500 for over 30 years. He did very well for himself, starting as a steward and working his way through the 6500 executive to staff rep to District 6 director.
“We're going to miss his knowledge, but we wish him a very good and healthy retirement. He deserves it.”