UPDATED 9:21 AM PT – Tuesday, December 15, 2020
The Department of Justice has concluded a years-long corruption investigation into the United Auto Workers union. On Monday, UAW President Rory Gamble announced a settlement alongside Michigan U.S. attorney Matthew Schneider.
The pair said the union will implement several measures to curb further corruption practices, including the creation of an independent monitor. The body would keep tabs on the UAW for up to six years and conduct investigations into fraud and corruption allegations.
Additionally, the UAW will conduct a secret ballot referendum to see if the union will change its practices for voting for top officials.
“This agreement is yet another step toward restoring the confidence and full faith of our members in our re-union and its leadership,” Gamble stated. “Importantly, this a collaborative effort between the government and UAW leadership to achieve our joint goals to ensure that our union is clean, free from misconduct, conducted with integrity and always for the benefit of its members.”
Back in 2017, the Justice Department made their investigation public, marking the largest investigation into a national labor union in decades. The probe has led to the conviction of 15 officials for crimes of corruption and fraud.
Several others, including former UAW Presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, have plead guilty to similar charges. The two were charged with embezzling more than $1 million of union funds and using them to buy luxury items.
“Our goal has been a simple one: provide justice to the UAW,” said Schneider. “This will not fully happen until the members and their families have a restored faith in the union leadership, until the workers’ trust in their leaders, will put the interests of the membership above all other considerations.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney said he will not pursue further charges against the UAW as an entity. However, he will continue to probe individuals suspected of engaging in fraud and corruption throughout the union.
The UAW will still have full autonomy over their day-to-day operations and collective bargaining negotiations.
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