UAW Choses New Leader to Oversee Troubled FCA Department

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The United Auto Workers’ executive board has selected Terry Dittes, current regional director on the East Coast, to become the union’s newest vice president. Dittes is tasked with overseeing the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler department, which is currently involved in an ugly federal corruption probe involving millions of dollars from a joint training center allegedly embezzled by both union and company officials.

Replacing Norwood Jewell, whose retirement became effective upon the close of 2017, Dittes is stepping in roughy six months before his first four-year term was supposed to end. While Jewell has not been formally charged with corruption, his supervisory role during the FCA-UAW scandal likely forced the early retirement.

Automotive News and The Detroit News have also reported that Jewell received a $2,180 shotgun, purchased with training center funds, as a birthday gift. The UAW said he later paid for the gun after finding out it was bought with training center funds.

However, Jewell’s predecessor, the late General Holiefield, is a central figure in the alleged illegal activities, along with FCA’s former top negotiator, Alphons Iacobelli. The case led to criminal charges against four people, including Iacobelli and Holiefield’s widow, Monica Morgan. More have been implicated during the investigation.

Dittes, who joined the UAW in 1978, was selected by union leaders in November as part of a collection of new candidates standing for election at June’s AW Constitutional Convention. He will out serve the rest of Jewell’s term until then.

Last month, UAW President Dennis Williams said the union will survive this “test.” He expects minimal backlash from members during the union’s Constitutional Convention, when Gary Jones, a UAW regional director and certified public accountant, is expected to succeed Williams.

“The UAW has weathered many storms over the years, been through bad economic times, long strikes, relentless and vicious organizing drives,” Williams said. “We have also at times withstood investigations that have tested our good will.”

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jan 04, 2018

    "UAW President Dennis Williams said the union will survive this “test.”" Mr. Williams obviously has his head up is azz. First of all to have this happen on his watch and secondly to think that unions in the USA will survive anything without a massive fight.

    • See 3 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jan 04, 2018

      @28-Cars-Later His 4-year term runs out in June, when he's 65, so good call.

  • Kat Laneaux @jalop1991I get that. It should be that way. Bills should be one and only one. None of this...if you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours as long as you agree with this too. That's petty and bs. I guess no one has enough balls to stand up for what is right, regardless of which side you stand on. Do one bill and pass it but pass it on merits and not on tit for tat.
  • Kat Laneaux They do but the electric companies are striving to go higher on prices. They supposedly were petitioning to allow higher charges for Solar users, here in NC.As long as they have the money to buy regulations, anything can happen and I really don't feel like spending my dollars on satisfying those evil, money hungry people.
  • J I haven't owned a sedan since like 2011 had a ford fusion and impala then I discovered hatchbacks beats an SUV but the amount of stuff I can do with my little hatchbacks leaves sedan owners and even some SUV and truck owners surprised
  • Dougjp It seems like I'm in a minority by rejecting CUV/SUVs and wanting "cars" instead. Its because, comparing apples to apples (same specs), I don't want (a) worse performance, (b) worse handling, (c) worse fuel economy, (d) worse road & wind noise and (e) higher cost. I'm quite willing to PAY for shipping that costs way less than 1% of the difference between the cost of a car and a comparable CUV/SUV, to buy a bulky piece of furniture from a store that doesn't provide free shipping. Which I would seldom buy anyway. The problem is, people don't think logically, and would rather default to herd mentality. Its the same as why people buy "off road vehicles", complete with ugly add on patch body work to "look the part", then they never go off road.
  • FreedMike How about one for a brown diesel wagon?
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