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FBI Autocompany/Union Training Center Corruption Investigation Widens

The Detroit News is reporting that the corruption investigation into the United Auto Workers (UAW) training centers for workers is expanding to training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers. The article also indicates the automakers themselves are not a target.

The initial FBI investigation focused solely on Fiat Chrysler (FC) and the UAW. Indictments of a FC executive and UAW staff followed. However, the Detroit News is now reporting investigators are possibly interested in Joe Ashton, a retired UAW vice president, and Cindy Estrada, a current UAW vice president.

The Detroit News reports the focus of the criminal investigation is on whether money and illegal benefits, which were earmarked as training funds, were involved in corrupting the bargaining process. The reporting, however, does not provide any direct evidence this has occurred. The article quotes Peter Honning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor, observing “If the companies are buying labor peace by corrupting Union leadership that has to be a significant concern… This sends a message that union leaders are just in it for themselves. This can rile up members and lead to an insurgency.”

While there is no evidence this has occurred, the expanded FBI probe indicates the evidence that has been uncovered is now leading in different directions.

© 2022 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 307
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About this Author

Keith Brodie Labor & Employment Attorney
Partner

Traditional labor lawyer and employment law counselor Keith Brodie represents the interests of employers in Michigan and across the country. Personable, detail- and business-oriented when rendering critical legal advice, Keith’s willingness to listen, combined with his strategic legal thinking, allows him to serve client interests while building rapport and consensus.

Keith advises on traditional labor law matters under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). His experience includes collective bargaining negotiations, administration of collective bargaining agreements, and...

616-742-3958
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