Remembering Jordan Rossen

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Jordan Rossen was a member of the Peggy Browning Fund's Advisory Board and was very helpful in the development of this organization. (Read further for the full tribute.) We offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Elizabeth Bunn, his children, extended family and friends. We are most grateful that his family has named the Peggy Browning Fund as the recipient of memorial donations in his honor.

If you would like to join others in making a gift in his memory, click here.

On November 3, Jordan Rossen, a former general counsel for the United Auto Workers (UAW), longtime leader in labor law and former Peggy Browning Fund Advisory Board member passed away at the age of 81.

Mr. Rossen was appointed to a position in the UAW's legal department by UAW President Walter Reuther in 1964. He became general counsel for the union in 1983 under President Doug Fraser and served in that role until 1998.

“During a crucial period in UAW history, Jordan Rossen created legal guidelines that impact American labor law and the rights of individual working men and women to this day," UAW President Dennis Williams said in a statement. "Jordan leaves a rich legacy on today’s UAW and we offer our sincere sympathy to his family on his passing.”

Rossen specialized in unemployment insurance law and civil and women’s rights. He litigated important cases advancing the employment rights of women, including successfully prosecuting a class action lawsuit securing unemployment insurance for women forced out of work due to pregnancy.

He practiced in both state and federal court and appeared before the United States Supreme Court in the 1980s and argued, unsuccessfully, for supplemental job benefits for pregnant workers forced out of work.

After Rossen retired from the UAW he divided his time between Detroit and New York City. In Detroit he served as a professor of labor studies at the College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs and the Fraser Center for Workplace Issues at Wayne State University. In New York, he practiced labor law at Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein.

"My dad, was incredibly dedicated to social justice, and women’s rights and civil rights issues," said his daughter, Rebecca Rossen Pavkovic, an associate professor at the University of Texas. "But his children remember him for his tireless dedication to parenting."

In addition to his daughter, Rossen is survived by his second wife Elizabeth Bunn, his daughter Rebecca Rossen Pavkovic and two sons Nathaniel Paul Rossen, of Silver Spring, Maryland, and Jordan David Rossen, of Ferndale.  Bunn, a former secretary-treasurer of the UAW, is the organizing director of the AFL-CIO.

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