If you haven’t been following the shenanigans taking place within the United Auto Workers union hierarchy, we’ll sum it up for you: Bad. UAW contracts with the Detroit automakers expired September 14, just as a federal criminal complaint focused on corruption within the organization implicated President Gary Jones. Another union official is also implicated but is not identified.
With this complaint made public, it throws into question negotiations between the UAW and General Motors. GM was targeted by the union to establish a negotiated contract that would then be a template for similar negotiations with Ford and FCA according to Automotive News.
GM May Seek Contract Extension
Sources are now saying that with this latest news GM may seek a temporary contract extension since the current UAW President Gary Jones has now been implicated. It would appear to put the Union in a much weaker position.
An emergency meeting of the Union International Executive Board was held today after the criminal complaint was made public. Jones and three union vice presidents were among many who attended the closed gathering.
In 2018 Jones was elected UAW president because he seemed removed from the growing federal probe, but two weeks ago his home was raided by the FBI in the expanding UAW scandal. With this latest news, his implication could affect many aspects of the UAW.
Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
It is alleged that UAW officials stole hundreds of thousands of dollars for cigars, liquor, expensive meals, golfing excursions, and other unnecessary expenses. Charges have been filed in a complaint against UAW Region 5 head Vance Pearson who was arrested September 12 at his home in Missouri. He has been accused of authorizing the expenditures and then concealing them.
Though others in the Union have been named, no other person has been officially charged with any crimes in this latest criminal complaint.
Of course, the written statements have been issued. GM’s statement says, “These serious allegations represent a stunning abuse of power and trust. There is no excuse for union officials to enrich themselves at the expense of the union membership they represent.”
The union responded, “Our highest priority is maintaining the trust and confidence of United Auto Workers members. While these allegations are very concerning, we strongly believe that the government has misconstrued any number of facts and emphasize that these are merely allegations, not proof of any wrongdoing. Regardless, we will not let this distract us from the critical negotiations underway with GM to gain better wages and benefits for the more than 400,000 members of our union.”
“UAW officials, including Pearson, and others would spend weeks and/or months living in Palm Springs enjoying an extravagant lifestyle paid for with UAW funds,” said Andrew Donohue, a special agent with the labor racketeering and fraud unit of the U.S. Department of Labor’s inspector general’s office after the release of the federal complaint.
Men’s Fashion Shorts
Lists of confiscated purchases include more than $60,000 worth of cigars, humidors, and cutting equipment; more than $60,000 for meals and alcohol that includes Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne, and more than $80,000 spent at Indian Canyons Golf Resort that included over $2,000 for polo shirts, shoes, jackets, hats, and “men’s fashion shorts.”
MotorBiscuit reported earlier about others involved in the ongoing corruption probe and criminal complaint and we will continue to bring news about both union negotiations with GM and the continuing news around the probe when it happens.