As List of Charged Officials Grows, Acting UAW Boss Aims for Cleaner Than Clean

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
as list of charged officials grows acting uaw boss aims for cleaner than clean

At this point, ensuring basic adherence to the law among his executives would suffice. Acting UAW President Rory Gamble, who took on the role after President Gary Jones stepped aside on Saturday amid mounting scrutiny over potential illegality, claims he’s sure there are no bad apples among the union’s executive board.

That said, he plans to root out any form of the illegal behaviour that, so far, has seen 13 UAW or automaker officials charged with fraud, embezzlement, and conspiracy in an ongoing federal probe. In the wake of charges laid against former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton this morning, Gamble is donning the title of Mr. Clean.

In a message to UAW members Tuesday, Gamble addressed the issue of union officials on the take, stating, “I want you to know that I will not excuse or tolerate any inappropriate actions, period. That is my promise to you.”

“From this day on,” he continued, “the UAW must not only adhere to the highest standards of conduct, put in place by former leaders like Walter Reuther. We need to exceed them. And that is my first priority.”

Speaking to Mike Martinez of Automotive News on Wednesday, Gamble said he’s worried about the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and the possibility of the union coming under federal oversight.

“That’s why I feel such tremendous disgust for those reps who have been found guilty of betraying their oaths of office,” he said. “They’ve jeopardized our organization for their own selfish reasons.”

Current and former UAW officials stand charged with enriching themselves and living high on the hog via kickbacks, bribes, and embezzled members’ dues. Money stolen from the union was allegedly spent on tony rented villas, booze, and sports equipment. Jones took a leave of absence after media sources named him as “Union Official A” in court documents filed in support of last week’s arrest of his top aide, Edward Robinson.

Gamble told AN he is “confident” his board members are clean and free of corruption. However, assurances like this have fallen flat in the past. As a result, Gamble plans to enact measures to uncover any corruption, with details forthcoming next week.

In an emailed statement sent to AN, General Motors, which saw Ashton serve as a board member from 2014 to 2017, said, “GM is deeply disturbed by Joe Ashton’s alleged criminal conduct. GM was not aware of this illegal activity until it was recently revealed by the government’s investigation, or that he allegedly continued to benefit from this conduct after the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (VEBA) appointed him to the GM Board, a position he resigned in December 2017.”

[Image: UAW, James R. Martin/Shutterstock]

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  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Nov 07, 2019

    Reference to the RICO Act and the Union coming under federal scrutiny/oversight could be the greatest threat to its ongoing independence. However the attitude of the current administration is somewhat ambivalent. While the Republican legislators are adamantly anti-union, the Executive/Oval Office knows how to speak to union members, and works assiduously to keep their loyalty. Certainly the UAW executive suite needs a complete cleaning. And union officials should have limitations on their service length, (as should all elected officials/politicians).

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 07, 2019

      Maybe this is being discussed through back channels and we'll see some "voluntary retirements".

  • Redapple Redapple on Nov 07, 2019

    This is an apology to Jack Baruth. I used to smash him for buying a GGM Silverado built el HENCHO. Now, I say he is smart and others should do the same. BOYCOTT UAW Made PRODUCTS. They are a corrupt to the core outfit. They protect real bad workers with VIGOR. (I was a skilled trades supervisor at GM Powertrain for 6 years) They are WAY OVERPAID. $85,000 /yr to turn a nut on a bolt. Come on man, this is real nutz. I m proud. My last UAW Pile o sheetz was a Ford in 1998.

    • See 4 previous
    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Nov 08, 2019

      @ Toolguy, thanks and you are correct. Performing those calculations is part of my 'everyday' workload. Canadian auto workers were at a cost advantage in comparison to American workers due to the universal healthcare in Canada. Meaning that GM/Ford/Chrysler did not have the enormous cost of providing healthcare not only to workers but to retirees. The D3 have now shed the cost for their retirees. What disturbs me in regards to posts like 'Redapples' is the animosity demonstrated to others. Getting the 'working class' to point fingers at each other is a major strategy of the 1%. Rather than being happy that other members of the working class are earning 'good' wages, we attempt to drag them down in a 'race to the bottom'. Rather than pointing the finger where it belongs at the incompetent executives earning million dollar bonuses and the 'investors' demanding ever increasing returns.

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