FBI's investigation of UAW could leave union under federal oversight

August 29, 2019, 7:38 AM

The United Auto Workers, a union that once had a reputation for ethical operation, may be permanently stained by an investigation that could leave it under federal oversight.

UAW president Gary Jones (Photo: Facebook)

The Detroit News reports on the potential for dire consequences:

The case for federal oversight of a union typically involves criminal implications of current leadership, experts say. And a move to file a civil racketeering lawsuit would reflect the government’s belief that the UAW is corrupt and the situation has not improved despite a four-year investigation that has led to eight convictions, including former union officials and executives from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

“This is the nuclear option,” said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor.

... "Federal oversight completely and profoundly changes the direction of the union," said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley who specializes in labor and the global economy. "The fact that it is even being discussed is disturbing news. One would need to see evidence of sustained institutional malfunction."

On Wednesday, agents raided the homes of Gary Jones, the current UAW president, and past president Dennis Williams, along with others across the country. For several years, the FBI has been investigating bribes, kickbacks and possible attempts by auto-company management to influence labor negotations through payoffs to high-ranking union officials. 

Federal oversight has previously been reserved for alleged mob-connected unions like the Teamsters, which remained under the FBI's eye for 25 years, before being released in 2015.


UAW Scandals Dishonor Legacy Of Reuther And Fraser -- Mary Kramer, Aug. 26

Read more:  The Detroit News

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