By on November 2, 2019

UAW

Hot on the heels of charges laid against his top aide, UAW President Gary Jones has taken a leave of absence, the union stated Saturday morning.

Two days ago, federal prosecutors charged UAW official Edward Robinson with conspiracy and fraud in an embezzlement scheme alleged to involve a number of top union execs. Sources who spoke to several media outlets this week fingered Jones as the “UAW Official A” mentioned in court documents.

Jones, who was nearly invisible in the ongoing contract talks between Detroit Three automakers and UAW bargaining teams, is alleged to have shared in the spoils of a nearly decade-long scheme that saw $1.5 million in union dues funnelled into executives’ pockets.

Jones’ leave of absence begins November 3rd, the union claims. The decision to step aside amid swirling accusations was Jones’, apparently, and came after a vote by the UAW’s Executive Board. Vice President Rory Gamble will step into Jones’ role at that point, assuming the full responsibility of his newfound office.

“The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future. I do not want anything to distract from the mission. I want to do what’s best for the members of this great union,” Jones said in a statement.

The ongoing federal probe into widespread corruption among the UAW’s uppermost comes as the union touts big gains for the members its execs are accused of ripping off. Awkward timing, to say the least. This week saw the National UAW-Ford Council greenlight a tentative agreement with the Blue Oval, sending the proposed contract to its members for ratification. Voting will take place next week. The contract reportedly contains increased bonuses and the same generous healthcare coverage seen in the recently ratified General Motors contract.

As for Robinson and the unnamed officials who allegedly conspired to embezzle union funds, prosecutors claim the $1.5 million in misappropriated member dues went towards lavish stays in rented villas, golf equipment, cigars and humidors, and pricey hooch.

[Image: UAW]

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