The leadership of the United Automobile Workers union seems to have forgotten their duty to the proletariat, as an FBI raid discovered large quantities of cash in the home of the union’s president. A series of raids hit a number of senior union officials — and there’s speculation they were part of an investigation into a major scandal involving union staff and misspent money.
Neighbors of UAW Chief President Gary Jones told journalists that the union boss’ home was raided by up to a dozen federal agents on August 28th. It’s since come out that other raids were carried out at homes and UAW offices in Michigan, California, Wisconsin and Missouri.
- The UAW is historically one of the most powerful US unions, and although its influence has fallen since its failure to unionize foreign-owned auto plants, it still has almost 400,000 members in over 600 local branches and has negotiated thousands of agreements with employers.
- Starting around 2006, the UAW worked with Fiat-Chrysler to set up a worker training center for the company’s US plants. In theory, this was a management-union joint venture that should have benefited both sides. In practice, it seems to have become a huge scheme for redirecting and embezzling money.
- A federal investigation revealed in 2017 has focused on Michael Grimes, a former UAW administrator, who is alleged to have helped arrange huge kickbacks for various union officials. These were mostly through contracts for watches and other promotional goods. Grimes used these contracts as leverage to get personal favors from businesses.
- Now, the investigation seems to have expanded to take in the UAW’s current leadership. While nobody’s officially saying why Gary Jones’s home was raided, the fact that the IRS seems to be involved points at a financial scandal.
- A neighbor who watched the raid saw agents counting “wads” of bills in Jones’s garage. J. Kevin Telepo texted his wife to describe a “pile of cash” in the garage.
- A statement from the UAW claims there was no need for the raids because the union “has voluntarily responded to every request the government has made throughout the course of its investigation.” The statement added, “President Jones is determined to uncover and address any and all wrongdoing, wherever it might lead.”
- It seems the federal government doesn’t share the union’s confidence in Jones — and the discovery of large amounts of cash at his home does raise some questions. Considering how closely the UAW is linked to the Democratic Party it could be interesting to see how far this investigation reaches.
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