You also saw this coming, right?
"I do not want anything to distract from the mission," UAW President Gary Jones says Saturday as he steps aside while the target of a federal corruption inquiry. "I want to do what's best for the members."
Jones takes an indefinite paid leave, which the 62-year-old union leader says he suggested. Vice President Rory Gamble, head of the Ford branch, steps into the top job for now, The Detroit News is first to report Saturday morning.
The change isn't voluntary, according to reporters Daniel Howes and Robert Snell. The UAW's governing board decided Jones "could no longer remain in office," they write.
All that was left was negotiating terms of his exit, including whether the UAW would continue paying his legal fees, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
The paper notes that Jones is "16 months into a rocky tenure leading one of the nation's largest and most powerful labor unions — a union beset by corruption and accusations he helped steal $2.2 million from blue-collar workers." FBI agents searched his Canton home in September.
Under agreement with the union, according to a source familiar with the situation, Jones would be obligated to reimburse the union for pay received while on leave should he be convicted in connection with the case. His decision to step aside came two days after The News identified Jones as the unnamed UAW official accused by prosecutors of conspiring with a top aide to steal as much as $700,000 in member dues.
The leadership change comes as federal authorities intensify their continuing investigation into UAW corruption, a nationwide probe.
Federal court documents accuse Jones, identified only as "UAW Official A," of dividing up to $700,000 in union funds with another union official.
The UAW president reportedly earns $200,700 per year, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Jones, a certified public accountant, was elected UAW president in June 2018 aftrer serving as director of 17-state Region 5 since October 2012. He joined the UAW in 1975 at Ford Motor Co.’s glass plant in Broken Arrow, Okla.