The United Auto Workers union hosted a solidarity rally on Labor Day – just as it does every year, but this year’s march was overshadowed by the FBI corruption investigation into the worker’s union.
The corruption investigation has cast a negative light over the union just as it heads to the bargaining table with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Investigators have so far arrested nine people and convicted eight in the UAW probe, and with the FBI raiding the home of UAW president Gary Jones last week, the case is still very much ongoing.
One UAW member told The Detroit News that the union is “hoping (Jones arrest) doesn’t hurt the contract negotiations,” and added that the timing of the raid “was pretty bad.” Another UAW worker told the publication that they believed the investigation was a “witch hunt” and that the government waited until Jones was appointed president to investigate him. Prior to Jones, Dennis Williams served as UAW president, with Jones still holding the position of regional director at that time.
The Detroit News also reports that a small group of UAW employees were marching not in solidarity with their union peers, but to push for leadership reform amid the corruption investigation. These employees also want the bargaining with the Detroit Big Three to be postponed until new leadership can be appointed, as they do not have confidence in Jones and his team to wager a good deal amid the FBI probe.
“We are pushing to stop contract talks right now until we can get a new body in there,” the UAW worker told the publication. “That’s what we need to do because we can’t trust anybody… because they’ve known about (the corruption). If you knew about it you are just as guilty.”
The FBI began investigating the union after it suspected certain union leaders of misappropriating union dues and using other UAW funds inappropriately. Some UAW members were also taking bribes and kickbacks that were funnelled through the Fiat Chrysler-UAW training center.
In a statement released previously, the UAW said it was “committed to continue putting in place more strong, enforceable reforms and more stringent financial controls throughout the Union.”
Source: The Detroit News