February 7, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 38

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February 06, 2023

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Union Corruption Update: Federal Takeover of the UAW on the Horizon?

Following an FBI raid on the home of United Auto Workers (UAW) president Gary Jones and numerous charges against ex-UAW officials, apparently in connection with an ongoing federal corruption probe, the federal government has signaled a possible takeover of the UAW after the criminal cases are closed.

The Detroit Free Press reports: “For now, [U.S. Attorney Matthew] Schneider said, the federal government is focused on the criminal investigation, which has led to charges against 13 ex-UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles officials, triggered resignations and planted a black eye on UAW leadership as three presidents in a row have come under scrutiny...”

While federal takeovers are rare, the federal government seized temporary operational control of the Teamsters union nearly 30 years ago related to alleged racketeering and other corrupt activity. According to the Wall Street Journal, “at the time, then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani alleged the union had made a ‘devil’s pact’ with the Mafia by allowing it to control officer elections.” Only recently has the federal government agreed to scale back government control of that union.

With the UAW investigation focusing mainly on allegations of bribery and other financial misdeeds, a federal takeover is also being considered. The Free Press quoted U.S. Attorney Schneider in December: “This isn’t a situation where the Justice Department would just impose its demands on the union. …This has to be an amicable discussion if and when we’re going to get there.”  According to the Free Press, current president Rory Gamble continues to deny any wrongdoing and pledges transparency and accountability for the UAW in 2020. 

© 2023 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 14
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