As the United Auto Workers union prepares to negotiate with General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles later this year, there are a host of internal problems facing the organization. One looming issue is an intensive federal investigation into a litany of corruption allegations involving the UAW’s joint training centers and charities, according to The Detroit News. The inquiry could sow a rift between UAW leadership and dues-paying members.
Investigators are looking into almost $1 million in dues money spent on condos, golf, and alcohol in California, a three-three-bedroom cabin built at the UAW Black Lake Conference Center in Michigan, and almost $1 million spent on conferences in Palm Springs. The investigation has led to several resignations such as former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton from GM’s board of directors, FCA department head Norwood Jewell, and former secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel.
These internal struggles come at a time when the UAW faces a host of changes with the automotive industry. General Motors, for example, proposed closing five U.S. factories by the end of January 2020 as part of a broader business restructuring. The union has been less than happy with the decision, taking a public stance against the automaker.
The UAW has also singled it’d join Unifor, the Canadian workers union representing employees at GM’s Oshawa factory, in confronting GM on several issues including the plant closures. The two have joined in a call to boycott the Mexican-built Chevrolet Blazer and others.
As the UAW prepares to negotiate with GM, FCA, and Ford later this year, the union upped its strike pay from $200 to $250 this week at its Special Convention in Detroit. By January 2020, weekly strike pay is expected to increase to $275 a week. While the UAW isn’t walking into the negotiations ready to strike. If anything, the UAW wants automakers to know a strike is possible.