As part of a nationwide corruption probe, agents with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service have reportedly raided the properties of multiple United Auto Workers officials.
“Federal agents expanded an investigation of corruption within the U.S. auto industry Wednesday by raiding locations in four states, including the suburban Detroit home of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones and the California home of former President Dennis Williams,” The Detroit News confirmed.
Also targeted were a UAW retreat in northern Michigan and the Wisconsin home of Williams’ former top aide, Amy Loasching.
While there were reportedly no arrests or charges filed Wednesday, the content discovered by federal officials could potentially lead to further arrests in what has been a lengthy 4-year probe into corruption by auto company executives and their union counterparts.
“Since 2017, eight people have pleaded guilty in an investigation of union officials and Fiat Chrysler executives enriching themselves with money from a job training center in Detroit,” the Associated Press notes.
“The probe appeared to widen two weeks ago when a former UAW official was charged with accepting kickbacks from union vendors. Mike Grimes was associated with a UAW-General Motors training center. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday.”
As for the raids Wednesday, they reportedly uncovered suspicious “wads” of cash and files.
“TV stations aired video of agents carrying bags and boxes from Jones’ home,” the AP notes.
Some of that footage may be seen below:
The allegations regarding the UAW officials targeted Wednesday are that they spent member dues “on personal luxuries, vacations and private villas in Palm Springs, California,” according to The Detroit News.
“Agents from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and Labor Department also are investigating whether labor leaders received money or benefits through their tax-exempt nonprofits and if they kept cash contributed by senior UAW staff to funds originally established to buy flowers for auto workers’ funerals.”
The raids Wednesday came amid ongoing negotiations between the union and GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — negotiations that, according to the AP, the unions’ members aren’t themselves too thrilled about: “Some blue-collar workers are skeptical about whether the union is representing their interests in contract talks.”
Unions, in general, have a sordid history of corruption. Some unions have even been linked to the Mafia. This corruption exists in part because of all the power granted to unions by the federal government and, more disconcertingly, Democrat laws.
“Unions’ power comes from the federal government’s guarantee of monopoly bargaining — that is, when a workplace elects a union, the union has the right to negotiate for all the employees, including the ones who voted against it or would rather negotiate with the employer directly,” current National Review deputy managing editor Robert VerBruggen pointed out back in 2011.
But this power has been voided in those conservative-led states that have implemented right-to-work laws.
UAW is, of course, a huge opponent of right-to-work laws. This seems telling, given that corruption and forced dues appear to go “hand-in-hand.”
“In … states with right-to-work laws, workers can protest by refusing to join the union or pay dues, though they are still bound by the union contract,” VerBruggen’s assessment continued.
“By contrast, non-right-to-work states — which include New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — reason that it is unfair to allow workers to free-ride on union efforts this way. So, they permit ‘union shop’ agreements, which make dues payments a condition of employment after a certain period of time.”
New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island are all Democrat strongholds.
Despite UAW’s continuing legal troubles, millions of auto workers throughout the nation are still required by their state laws to pay the union dues.
“[W]orkers are still being forced by federal law to accept UAW bosses as their ‘exclusive’ bargaining agent on matters concerning their pay, benefits and work rules,” National Right to Work Committee president Mark Mix remarked in a statement last spring.
“And auto workers employed in states that still lack Right to Work protections for private-sector employees can still be forced to pay for Norwood Jewell’s pension and retirement health benefits while the FBI investigates him.”
Norwood Jewell is UAW’s vice president. His own home was raided back in April. And earlier this month he was reportedly sentenced to 15 months behind bars for his acts of corruption.
But even in the face of Jewell’s sentencing and Wednesday’s raids, the union appears to remain defiant.
“President Jones is determined to uncover and address any and all wrongdoing, wherever it might lead,” the UAW said in a statement. “There was absolutely no need for search warrants to be used by the government today.”
“The UAW has voluntarily responded to every request the government has made throughout the course of its investigation, produced literally hundreds of thousands of documents and other materials to the government, and most importantly, when wrongdoing has been discovered, we have taken strong action to address it.”
Stunningly, the union even mentioned its ongoing negotiations with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler in its bizarre statement.
“Trust in UAW leadership is never more important than during the bargaining process, when profit-laden auto companies stand to benefit from media leaks, false assumptions, and political grandstanding,” the statement reads. “The sole focus of President Jones and his team will be winning at the bargaining table for our members.”
Perhaps the “sole focus” of UAW’s leadership team should be studying up on how to stay out of prison?
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