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Former UAW VP Ashton sentenced to 30 months for corruption

UAW membership has risen for the first time since 2004

DETROIT (AP) - A former union vice president who took a $250,000 kickback for a watch contract has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. It's the latest punishment in what the government calls "systemic" corruption at the highest ranks of the United Auto Workers.

Joe Ashton of Ocean View, New Jersey, had hoped for house arrest, noting his wife has multiple sclerosis and needs constant care. But Judge Bernard Friedman says a prison term is appropriate for a crime that shook the faith of thousands of union members.

Eleven union officials and a late official's spouse have pleaded guilty since 2017, including former presidents Dennis Williams and Gary Jones. Not all the crimes were connected.

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