Dan Carmichael Obit

Dan Carmichael, Journalist and Union Activist, Dies

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Dan Carmichael, a veteran United Press International reporter based in Washington and a longtime union activist, died Sunday (Jan. 19, 1992) after a brief illness. He was 38.

Carmichael dies of AIDS-related pneumonia at Jefferson Hospital in Alexandria, Va.

He served for a decade as a national officer of the Wire Service Guild, representing employees of The Associated Press and United Press International.

Carmichaelšs last assignment at UPI, which he left in November, was covering the Justice Department. He joined UPI in Honolulu in 1971 and worked at the news service's Dallas and New York bureaus before transferring in 1983 to Washington, where also he covered the Labor Department.

"He was incredibly diligent and hard working, always trying to dig out the truth. He sued those same qualities in fighting his disease right up until he died," said David Wiessler, former Washington bureau chief at UPI.

Carmichael was secretary-treasurer of the Wire Service Guild for eight years and helped negotiate three national contracts for members at UPI, among them a 1983 pact that included "agency shop" language requiring all union-covered employees top pay dues, a long-sought measure virtually unheard of in the news industry.

When UPI declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1985, Carmichael had a key role in protecting the interests of UPI employees in federal court, and he was instrumental in the sale of the company to Mexican publisher Mario Vasquez Rana, who spent millions propping up the international news agency.

"The Guild's efforts were headed by a team. Carmichael was a starter and a finisher. He played offense and defense. He used the written word to gouge the company players and frustrate what appeared to be "Hail Mary" efforts to turn around the company on the wallets of the employees," said Bill Morrissey, WSG president during the bankruptcy.

"Dan was proud of his role and once described himself as 'the son of a bitch hitman' for a reporters' union," Morrissey said.

Born Sept. 24, 1953, in Melbourne, Australia, Carmichael spent his childhood in Alice Springs, Northern Territories. The family moved to Hawaii in 1963 and Carmichael, a U.S. citizen, attended the University of Hawaii, receiving his bachelor of arts degree in American studies in 1975.

He began his journalism career while in high school. One of his first major stories for UPI was the private burial of aviator Charles Lindbergh in 1974. After moving to UPIšs Dallas bureau, Carmichael became involved in the legal battle over the exhumation of Lee Harvey Oswald. Accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Carmichael, accompanied by Oswald's wife Marina, was the only reporter present when the grave was opened in 1981.

He also covered the demise of the Braniff airline and investigated the role American Airlines had in its competitor's collapse.

Survivors include his parents, Margaret and Ned Carmichael of Goolwa, South Australia; three brothers, Paul, of Kailu-Kona, Hawaii, Sam, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., and Mark, with the U.S. Army; and a sister, Ruth Calise, of Warwick, R.I.