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UAW

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Today on Stateside, UAW rank and file members watch and worry as an ongoing federal corruption probe casts doubt over top leadership. Plus, we hear about the challenges of ensuring clean drinking water in America. 

The UAW has been striking since September 16.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s a challenging time, to say the least, for the United Auto Workers Union. The UAW’s president is on paid leave amidst a widening federal corruption probe, which has resulted in 13 charges and 10 guilty pleas.

Acting president Rory Gamble has pledged to “clean up” the UAW, but how do its rank and file members feel about their union’s future?

UAW

United Auto Workers Acting President Rory Gamble has announced the implementation of "widespread ethics reforms." The move comes in the midst of a widening FBI investigation that has uncovered a pattern of corruption among union leaders.

In a statement, Gamble says, "As the acting president, I'm committed to putting in place the right mechanisms to safeguard our union, regaining the trust of our members, and ensuring the misconduct that has recently come to light will never happen again.

Prison bars
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Today on Stateside, the UAW’s International Executive Board meets to consider reforms in the face of the growing federal corruption probe into the union. Plus, as our series “Life on the Inside” continues, we’ll look at what it’s like to parent while you’re in prison.

A retired United Auto Workers vice president has become the highest-ranking union official yet charged in a federal corruption investigation.

Joe Ashton was the union’s representative on the board of General Motors, and also sat on the board of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, a joint worker training center. He’s charged with fraud and money laundering.

UAW workers went on strike in Flint Monday.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The  federal corruption probe into the UAW marches on.

On Wednesday, retired union vice president Joe Ashton became the 13th and highest-ranking person to be charged in the investigation. Union president Gary Jones has taken a leave of absence.

The union's vice president Rory Gamble, who recently negotiated the contract agreement with Ford, is now the UAW's acting president.

UAW
UAW

DETROIT (AP) — United Auto Workers President Gary Jones is taking a paid leave of absence amid a federal investigation of corruption in the union.

The UAW said Jones requested the leave, which is effective Sunday.

The federal government has been investigating fraud and misuse of funds at the UAW for more than two years.

Jones has not been charged. But in a court filing last week, federal prosecutors alleged that seven top UAW officials conspired since 2010 to embezzle funds through schemes such as submitting false vouchers for conference expenses.

daniel howes
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The United Auto Workers walkout at General Motors was inevitable, ensured by the automaker’s decision to close four U.S. plants.

Was it necessary? Probably.

uaw strike signs laying on the ground
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The UAW strike against General Motors is over. Union members voted 57% to 43% to ratify a new four-year contract.

Vincent Gardner was manning his post on the picket line Friday afternoon, a few hours before the contract ratification was officially announced.  But everyone knew the strike was over.  

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Today on Stateside, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is forcing Michigan ports to make expensive changes, even though ports nearby, including one in Toledo, don't have to do the same. Plus, the long and gruesome history of the invasive sea lamprey’s presence in the Great Lakes.

UAW corruption probe continues with tenth guilty plea

Oct 22, 2019
UAW-GM Center for Human Resources
Bill VanderMolen/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Jeff “Paycheck” Pietrzyk, aide to former United Auto Workers Vice President Joe Ashton, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and another count of conspiring to launder money. Pietrzyk is the eleventh person charged and the tenth person to plead guilty in the ongoing federal probe into corruption within the UAW.

 

The UAW has been striking since September 16.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After one month of striking, the United Auto Workers have reached a deal with General Motors.

The proposed deal, which was announced Thursday, would increase wages, keep the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant Plant open, and lead to 9,000 new or retained jobs - a jump from GM's original proposal of 5,400 jobs.

UAW workers striking in Flint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers and General Motors have reached a tentative contract agreement that could end a month-long strike that brought the automaker's U.S. factories to a standstill.

four men holding picket signs
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The UAW and GM have a tentative contract.

The proposed four-year contract could end the longest national strike against the carmaker since 1970. But union leaders still have to sell the deal to a rank and file that's been on the picket line for a month.

striking UAW workers
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

United Auto Workers said Saturday it's increasing strike pay for workers picketing at General Motors as the walkout by more than 49,000 employees nears the four-week mark.

   

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer stopped by a UAW picket line at a General Motors plant near Grand Rapids Thursday evening.

The governor and her team rolled up in black SUVs just before dusk. Whitmer posed for pictures, shook hands, and listened as workers described what’s at stake for them in the strike.

Nearly 50,000 workers have been on strike against GM since last month. They say they’re holding out for higher wages, and job security for temporary workers.

uaw strike signs laying on the ground
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors is in its third week, and it's costing a lot of people a lot of money.

"At this point, it's already quite painful in the United States, particularly in metro Detroit, says Patrick Anderson, CEO of the Anderson Economic Group.  "And our estimated wage losses are already above $400 million right out of people's paychecks that work in the automotive industry."

That $400 million estimate includes both striking GM workers and workers in the supplier industry who've been laid off because of the strike.

UAW GM workers striking with signs
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors is the longest in 49 years. And a lot has changed.

The union’s 49,000 GM employees are a fraction of the 340,000 who walked off the job for 67 days in 1970.

UAW worker on strike
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

At the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, just south of Grand Rapids, it’s nearly lunchtime for the workers walking the picket lines

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Inside the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, there are cases of bottled water stacked against the wall, bags of chips lined up along the table, and more donations coming in all the time.

“Good luck, keep up the good fight,” one woman says as she drops off more food for the striking workers.

“I’m actually overwhelmed by the support of the community,” says Willie Holmes, President of UAW Local 167. “They have just been stepping up left and right like you would not believe. I mean, every time I blink, here comes another truckload of food. Or just, somebody wants to come in and just donate their time.”

UAW-GM Center for Human Resources
Bill VanderMolen/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

DETROIT (AP) - Federal prosecutors in Detroit have filed charges against an 11th person in an investigation of corruption in the United Auto Workers.

Jeff Pietrzyk is charged with conspiracy. He's accused of accepting at least $70,000 in 2013-14 from a chiropractor who was paid millions of dollars to make watches for General Motors workers. Investigators also say Pietrzyk was a middleman who passed cash to someone identified as Union Official 1.

Pontiac Silverdome demolition
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

 


Today on Stateside, students across Michigan take to the streets to voice their concerns about climate change. Plus, the Pontiac Silverdome may be developed into an Amazon distribution center.

UAW workers went on strike in Flint Monday.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers say General Motors canceled health insurance for more than 49,000 striking workers Monday night, without any notice.

The move means employees will need to sign up for COBRA insurance. COBRA is the federal insurance program for people who are out of work.

The union will have to dig into its strike fund more deeply than it apparently planned because of the decision.

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Today on Stateside, what you need to know about the outbreak of a deadly mosquito-borne virus in Michigan. Plus, the growing number of cities in Michigan designating themselves "promise zones" and offering tuition assistance to their high school graduates.  

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

On day two of the United Auto Worker's national strike against General Motors, I caught up with UAW member Jessie Kelly, right after her four-hour shift on the picket line at GM's Warren Tech Center. 

Kelly, a 29-year-old single mom of one, is in a skilled trades apprentice program at GM. It's a long way from her early days with the automaker, when she was a temp. 

UAW-GM Center for Human Resources
Bill VanderMolen/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Another former high level UAW official has pleaded guilty to charges that he took bribes and kickbacks while working for the union.

Michael Grimes is the ninth person to plead guilty in the ongoing corruption investigation of the UAW. He’s the first so far from the UAW’s General Motors division.

General Motors

It's "go time" for negotiations on the next four-year contract between Detroit automakers and the United Auto Workers union.

The current contract expires September 14th, and, as is usually the case, the union has picked one of the three automakers to set the pattern for the other two.

It's GM's turn this time around. Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Autotrader, says she is not surprised, given GM's controversial closure of four U.S. plants.

The union's primary concern is trying to maintain, if not increase, jobs in the U.S., and keep plants open.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Monday’s Detroit Labor Day parade was a low-key one by historical standards, despite being a high-stakes time for many unions—none more than the United Auto Workers.

The union is going through a tough time. Its leaders are under FBI investigation for possible corruption, as they try to bargain new contracts with Detroit’s three automakers.

The FBI on Wednesday upped its investigation into alleged corruption within the United Auto Workers with some dramatic raids on high-profile targets.

The government raided the Canton home of UAW President Gary Jones. It also raided the Corona, California home of retired President Dennis Williams, and the UAW’s Black Lake Conference Center in northern Michigan, among other targets.

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