W. J. (Bill) Usery Jr. (1923 - 2016)

Obituary
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  • "MELVIN, I just heard about your father passing , remember..."
    - Hank Churchwell
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    - Bart & Kathy Bontems
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    - Neil Godbee
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W.J. (Bill) Usery, Jr.
Milledgeville, Georgia-
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor W. J. (Bill) Usery, Jr., passed away on December 10, 2016, at the age of 92. Throughout a long career in labor-management relations, he participated in hundreds of collective bargaining disputes in a wide variety of private industries, as well as in the public sector. He was widely recognized during his working life as the nation's top mediator.
From 1977 to 2004, he was President of Bill Usery Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C. area firm dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of the American worker in the global mar¬ket¬place through cooperative labor relations and innovative human resource strategies. Since 2004, he made his home in Atlanta and Milledgeville, Georgia.
Mr. Usery was also the founder of the W. J. Usery, Jr. Center for the Workplace, at Georgia State University, in Atlanta.
Mr. Usery held five Presidential appointments, three of which required Senate confirmation. He was Secretary of Labor under President Gerald Ford (1976-77). He served as Special Assistant to the President for Labor Management Negotiations in the administrations of President Ford and President Nixon, coordinating the Federal Government's labor-management relations activities in both the private and public sectors of the economy.
Mr. Usery joined the Federal Government in 1969, when he was appointed Assistant Secretary of Labor for Labor-Management Services by President Nixon, a post he held until 1973. For three years (1973-76), Mr. Usery was National Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), serving as the government's chief mediator in every labor-management dispute of national significance.
Under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Mr. Usery was the industrial union representative on the President's Missile Sites Labor Committee at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. He was a founder of the Cape Kennedy Labor-Management Relations Council in 1967, and became its chairman in 1968. He was a Grand Lodge Representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at the time.
At various times, Mr. Usery served in the following roles: Fellow in the Employment Studies Institute at Syracuse University's School of Management; Advisory Member of the Board of Directors of the American Productivity & Quality Center; editorial advisor for the Employee Relations Law Journal; member of the Board of Directors of the UAW Labor Employment and Training Corporation; member of the Manufacturing Studies Board established by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences; Chairman of the Working Party on Industrial Relations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Chairman of TRADE NET; member of the Advisory Board of the John Gray Institute at Lamar University; member of the board of the Georgia Military College Foundation; and Chairman of the Secretary of Labor's Advisory Commission on United Mine Workers of America Retiree Health Benefits.
Under President Clinton, Mr. Usery served from 1993 to 1995 as a member of the Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations, which investigated the state of worker-management relations and labor law in the United States. In 1994, he was appointed by the President as Special Mediator for the dispute between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball.
In 1985, Mr. Usery established the Bill Usery Labor Management Relations Foundation, for the betterment of public awareness and understanding of labor-management relations, collective bargaining, and other human resource issues in the free enterprise system. In 1991, the Foundation helped create Partners In Economic Reform (PIER), a nonprofit foundation which worked to promote economic development and free collective bargaining in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Usery was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Georgia State University, the University of Louisville, North Alabama State University, and Southeastern University. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Georgia Military College in 1971. Born in Hardwick, Georgia, Mr. Usery attended Georgia Military College and Mercer University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served in the Pacific Fleet in World War II.
Mr. Usery is survived by his wife Fran Pardee Usery, son & daughter-in-law Melvin & Lisa Usery, granddaughter Laurie Morrissey and niece Jeannie Durden Riner.
Funeral services will be held at 1PM Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at First United Methodist Church in Milledgeville. Interment will follow at Memory Hill Cemetery.
The family will receive friends Tuesday, December 13, from 6-8PM at First United Methodist Church of Milledgeville.
In lieu of flowers, friends and loved ones are urged to send donations to the First United Methodist Church, 366 Log Cabin Rd., Milledgeville, Georgia 31061 or to Georgia Military College Foundation, 201 E. Greene St., Milledgeville, Georgia 31061.
Moores Funeral Home & Crematory has charge of arrangements.


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Moores Funeral Home & Crematory
301 S. Wayne St.
Milledgeville, GA 31061
478-452-3024
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Published in The Telegraph on Dec. 13, 2016
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