Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. With only a public school elementary education he had risen to become an American labor union leader and vice president of the International Association of Machinists. He had a reputation for fairness, tact, and patience in all his dealings.
On 5 April 1933 he was appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps (Commodity Credit Corporation).
lieutenant was Fechner"s fairness and ability for organization and administration that impressed the president to his appointment as director Although he had been an important labor figure, Fechner objected to attempts of union organizers to form unions among Commodity Credit Corporation enrollees in the camps.
He felt that the government was doing all it possibly could for the well-being of the enrollees: well federal, supporting dependents with monthly earnings, getting an education. And they were contributing in a constructive manner to the conservation needs of the nation.
The need for a union in this situation was not necessary, and he issued orders to keep union organizers out of the Commodity Credit Corporation camps and gave instructions that if any of the Commodity Credit Corporation enrolees joined a union they were to be discharged.
Upon Fechner"s death while still serving as Commodity Credit Corporation Director he was succeeded by James McEntee. Fechner"s likeness appeared on the cover of Time magazine on February 6, 1939. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.