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UAW's president to meet with U.S. District Attorney Matthew Schneider over corruption

Gary Jones stands at a UAW podium
United Auto Workers

UAW President Rory Gamble and U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider will meet at the end of this month to discuss ways to eliminate corruption in the union.

It's a last-ditch chance for Gamble to stave off federal control of the union, according to Erik Gordon, who's on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Gordon is skeptical the meeting will work. He says Gamble has balked thus far at the depth of reforms that are needed.

"If Gamble lets this opportunity pass, his legacy will be, he's the one who put the union into government receivership," says Gordon. "Not the legacy he was hoping to have."

Gordon says he believes the U.S. Attorney's office will only be satisfied with "bold" reforms, such as allowing rank and file members to directly elect union leaders, rather than electing them via delegates as is currently the case.

Gamble's predecessor, Gary Jones, along with 12 others, has pleaded guilty to federal crimes, involving kickbacks, bribes, and misuse of union funds for personal gain.

The scandal began in 2017, when the FBI arrested a former Fiat Chrysler financial analyst, who prepared false tax returns for UAW leaders who'd accepted bribes. The bribes, according to federal investigators, were intended to keep union negotiators "fat, dumb and happy," during contract talks.

It's widely expected that the next person to be charged with federal crimes will be Dennis Williams, president of the union before Jones. The FBI conducted a raid of Williams' home in August, 2019.

The UAW recently accepted a bid on a $1.3 million dollar vacation home it had built for Williams in northern Michigan, using non-union labor.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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