Former UAW President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement and Racketeering Charges
On Wednesday, Former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones plead guilty to embezzlement and racketeering charges, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Jones left the position in November after contract talks with Detroit automakers. The investigation of labor corruption in the auto industry has gone on for a year, and Jones' conviction is the largest milestone so far. Jones was accused of embezzling over $1 million to pay for private villas, expensive cigars, golf outings, and other things. The spending was covered up with fake receipts and fraudulent expense reports.
Furthermore, the misconduct by Jones appears to have occurred in the organization for almost a decade and might lead to federal oversight. Jones also pleaded guilty to tax fraud. He faces up to ten years in prison, but prosecutors are recommending 5 years if he cooperates. “I apologize to my UAW family for the betrayal of their trust and pray they will forgive me,” Mr. Jones said in his court hearing.
Current UAW President Rory Gamble condemned Jones’ actions and stated that new policies have been implemented to prevent events like this from occurring in the future. The United Auto Workers union is comprised of nearly 400,000 members and has struggled to increase its influence and significance amid corruption charges for high ranking officials. US Attorney in eastern Michigan, Matthew Schenider, has stated that the government could resort to its Teamsters playbook and seek oversight of the union.
Schneider plans to meet with Gamble to discuss the reformation of the UAW. With Jones pleading guilty to racketeering, it seems prosecutors are looking to build a case under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO.
The UAW is in need of serious reformation as its former president faces up to 10 years in prison on multiple charges.