Fraser was popular with the union's rank-and-file, who appreciated his candor and accessibility. Everyone called him Doug.
He also was a shrewd and pragmatic negotiator. In the 1960s and '70s, he helped win such benefits as comprehensive health care and improved working conditions.
But he faced challenges as UAW president from 1977 to 1983, a period of severe financial hardship for the industry that forced the union to make unprecedented concessions.