The UAW scandal that rocked the American automotive industry when it first came to light thee years ago reached a conclusion this week after the U.S. Justice Department struck a deal with the embattled labor union.
According to Automotive News, the UAW was able to avoid a federal takeover with the deal, which will put the the union under the watchful of an independent monitor for the next six years.
Additionally, the deal could pave the way for UAW members to implement a voting process for electing the union’s president and vice president. In the past, the union’s top brass would select new leadership every four years without input from its rank-and-file members.
“The men and women of the union, they get to decide, and rightly so,” UAW President Rory Gamble said this week, as quoted by AN.
“We all have a shared goal of making the UAW a shining example of what a labor union can be,” Gamble added. “We are committed to making the monitor’s job very boring.”
Federal prosecutors opened an investigation into the UAW back in 2017 after the found the organization’s leaders were misappropriating union dues for their own gain. Union funds were spent on luxury goods such as vacation villas, golf equipment, top shelf liquor, cigars, solid gold pens and even a Ferrari.
Two former UAW presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, were both brought down in the investigation, along with several of their accomplices. Both Jones and Williams have plead guilty to their litany of charges.
The UAW has also been forced to pay back $1.5 million for tax-related costs tied to the scandal and has sidelined $15 million for worker training. Some of the union dues were funnelled to corrupt leaders via the UAW training center.
While the UAW scandal will put the union under the watchful eye of the federal government for the next six years, it does not currently face any additional fines. It is not expected to incur any additional charges related to the misconduct, either.
GM was not involved in the UAW scandal, which mainly included union leaders working on the Fiat Chrysler side of the organization. The automaker filed a racketeering suit against FCA in relation to the scandal, saying the union corruption weakened its business, though it has so far been unable to make the claims stick in court.