Former United Auto Workers Union president Gary Jones pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds to at least three Fiat Chrysler executives on Wednesday.
As part of a cooperation agreement with the federal attorney, 63-year-old Jones admitted to using more than $ 1 million in union funds for vacation rentals, golf trips, clothing, alcohol, and expensive meals. According to prosecutors, Mr. Jones spent around $ 60,000 just on cigars and smoking utensils.
The investigation has uncovered several loosely related programs that have been implemented by various union and company officials. In one case, a union vice president who was once a General Motors board member received setbacks from the purchase of U.A.W. Branded watches. In another case, Fiat Chrysler̵
Details revealed in the investigation also led to G.M. filed a lawsuit in November accusing Fiat Chrysler of bribing union officials to detain G.M. in employment contracts. Fiat Chrysler said the lawsuit is unfounded.
The federal investigation of the U.A.W. started over five years ago and is still active. Dennis Williams, Mr. Jones’ predecessor, is among those still examined. A The February agreement with a former adjutant to Mr. Jones revealed that a U.A.W. The official, who referred to court records as Officer B, had urged union funds to be used in such a way that he and other officials would benefit. Union officials have confirmed that Official B is Mr. Williams. The union also built a luxury lakeside cabin for Mr. Williams in a U.A.W. Resort about 250 miles north of Detroit.
The investigation has hit the United States hard. Union President Rory Gamble has apologized for his failure and has committed to reforming it. While the union no longer has the power and political influence it exercised decades ago, it remains one of the largest work groups in the country and plays a key role in the U.S. auto industry. The U.A.W. represents approximately 400,000 workers and is the largest union for G.M., Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler.
“Former President Gary Jones and others have abused their senior positions and violated the trust of our members,” Gamble said in a statement on Wednesday. “Your actions were selfish, immoral, and against everything we stand for as a union.”
The defense agreement represents a dramatic decline for Mr. Jones, who was elected President of the United States. in 2018 and last year, workers led a 40-day strike against G.M. The strike has resulted in higher wages and benefits for contract workers and those with lower seniority, an important trade union goal. In return, the union accepted G.M.’s decision to close a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which some U.A.W. Members.