Months after federal officials raided the properties of multiple United Auto Workers officials in August, the findings of their investigations and subsequent raids have finally been unveiled to the public — and they’re damning beyond comprehension.
These findings include the facts that:
- Former UAW President Gary Jones once spent $13,000 of union funds in one day while living the high life at a cigar shop in Arizona.
- The union once spent $6,500 on a single fancy meal at the nationwide restaurant chain LG’s Prime Steakhouse. The bill reportedly included a $1,760 charge for four bottles of upscale champagne.
- The union reportedly wasted an average of $5,000 a month renting luxurious villas in Palm Springs.
- Union officials once forked over $80,000 for green fees, shoes, golf bags, sunglasses, shirts and “fashion shorts” at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort in Palm Springs.
“The purchases, documented by a federal complaint filed against a union leader in September, were part of more than $60,000 in cigars and cigar paraphernalia that Mr. Jones and other U.A.W. officials expensed to the union between 2014 and 2018,” The New York Times reported Thursday.
“And the cigar purchases were in turn just a small portion of the roughly $1 million in union money that court filings say U.A.W. officials spent on golf outings, four-figure dinners and monthslong villa rentals during regular retreats in Palm Springs, Calif., and elsewhere.”
And people wonder why conservatives can be critical of unions …
As part of a nationwide corruption probe, agents with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service raided a UAW retreat and the properties of Jones, former UAW President Dennis Williams and Williams’ former top aide four months ago.
The raids uncovered suspicious “wads” of cash and files. In fact, local TV stations aired videos of federal agents carrying a bevy of bags and boxes from Jones’ home in particular.
See some of that footage below:
While there were reportedly no arrests or charges filed at the time, after four years of investigating the authorities were certain that union officials were enriching themselves using the fees collected from unsuspecting union members.
The scandal-plagued, Democrat-linked union suffered its first official scalp two months later when one of its top regional directors had to be placed on leave as per federal allegations of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and more.
After that, the scalps just kept growing, with the top dog, Jones, resigning hours after General Motors sued Fiat Chrysler in early November on the basis that it’d bribed UAW officials “in contract negotiations to get a leg up on G.M. over the course of a decade,” as originally reported by the Times.
“The scandal comes on top of an investigation into company and union officials’ improper use of millions of dollars from a joint Fiat Chrysler-U.A.W. training center,” the paper’s Thursday update adds.
“Mr. Jones’s predecessor as president, Dennis Williams, is accused of encouraging the use of Fiat Chrysler funds meant for worker education as a way to pay for the extravagant spending in Palm Springs and other places.”
These typical findings — typical in light of unions’ sordid history of corruption — comes amid efforts by Democrat legislators and presidential candidates to further empower unions at the expense of everybody else, including freelance workers.
Many Republicans see public-sector unions as greedy, powerful special interests that are taking too many taxpayer dollars. –NYTimes
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) February 19, 2011
As it stands, unions also benefit from a frightening degree of monopolistic power.
“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.
Union power also comes from Democrats. Over in California, for instance, Democrat legislators have worked hand-in-hand with unions to force the adoption of a radical bill, AB5, that’s slated to destroy the entire freelance economy, all so that more unsuspecting marks can be lured into joining up with unions just like the UAW.
“State Capitol Democrats and organized labor say their new ‘gig’ law will correct the misclassification of 1 million California workers who are falsely deemed ‘independent contractors.’ But their thinking reflects a misunderstanding,” Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton wrote in late September, days after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB5 into law.
“Or maybe it’s just an ignoring of reality to rope in more dues-paying union members. If these workers are reclassified under the law as someone’s employees, they’ll be eligible to join a union.”
But that’s not what freelancers themselves want. They just want to continue working independently and without the restrictions of a typical job. Some of them are single mothers and retired seniors who desperately need that flexibility.
But the unions don’t care. Nor do their Democrat allies.
“There are tens of thousands of independent contractors who apparently don’t feel the slightest bit exploited,” Skelton noted. “And they don’t want anything to do with formal employment or unions. They include healthcare workers, psych therapists, budding musicians and truck drivers who own their own rigs.”
And many of whom are now earning $0 because, as Business Insider reported this month, their clients are laying them off left and right.
“California lawmakers meant for the new law, Assembly Bill 5, to help Uber and Lyft drivers get more pay and benefits for working long hours,” the outlet confirmed last week. “But instead, to save money, companies responded by slashing jobs for part-time and full-time freelance workers altogether — right before the holidays.”
Today, along with literally HUNDREDS of my colleagues, I was told that I can no longer hold a paid position at SB Nation. California, you’re breaking my heart (and taking my money). #AB5
— Rebecca Lawson (@beccaaftersix) December 16, 2019
But again, neither Democrats nor unions care. For the unions, all they seem to care about, in fact, is whether or not they’re earning enough money to party like it’s 1999.
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