Authorities have charged UAW director Vance Pearson for conspiring with associates to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of union funds,
Pearson, 58, was a member of the UAW’s International Executive Board and also a regional director. His arrest comes after the FBI raided the home of UAW leader Gary Jones earlier this month amid its ongoing corruption investigation into the worker’s union. A total of ten people have been arrested so far in the investigation.
Authorities allege Pearson submitted fraudulent expense forms seeking reimbursement from the UAW’s Detroit headquarters for expenses that were supposedly incurred for UAW training conferences, when he was actually using the funds to pay for “lavish entertainment and personal spending for the conspirators.”
The UAW has not yet commented on Pearson’s arrest.
The FBI probe into the UAW has ramped up in recent months, with authorities charging the first UAW member from the General Motors arm of the union in August before raiding the union leaders home this month. The probe comes as the UAW is locked in high stakes contract negotiations with GM, Ford and FCA and experts believe a strike is looking increasingly likely.
Michael Hicks, an economics professor with a focus on manufacturing, told NPR this week that “there is a very high probability of a strike,” between the Big Three and the UAW and acknowledged the investigation is complicating the matter.
“I mean, we’re staring at a manufacturing-led recession, especially in the Midwest,” he claimed. “The UAW’s timing couldn’t possibly be worse.”