UAW Choses New Leader to Oversee Troubled FCA Department
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.”
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