By on October 1, 2020

Dennis Williams, the former president of the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds on Wednesday. His copping to the conspiracy charge comes after his successor, Gary Jones, similarly pleaded guilty to misappropriating more than $1.5 million from the UAW in June. They’re joined by numerous co-conspirators that have been caught in a gigantic federal probe hoping to address union corruption and appears to have hit pay dirt.

Appearing by video in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Williams entered his plea and apologized about the current state of the UAW. “I want to close by apologizing to this court, to my family and to each and every hard-working member paying dues,” he said. “I hope by accepting responsibility for my actions and for my failures, this process might help restore the faith in our union.”

While Williams would have faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, he entered into a plea agreement like most who have been indited  with much of his testimony helping to take down Jones. It’s assumed his actual penance will be much more lenient than the maximum penalties he was originally subject to and will ultimately be decided at his official sentencing on January 25th of next year. Currently, he has claimed to have reimbursed the union by over $56,000 when he resigned in September.

Predictably, the union has condemned Williams’s actions as selfish, worthy of punishment, and not in line with what the UAW stands for. It’s an understandable, yet hilarious, claim to make.  At the time of this writing, Williams is just one of 15 individuals that have been charged in connection to the union corruption probe being run by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider. It also continues to pick up steam, making us wonder where this will all end as increasingly important union members have become involved.

Automotive executives from Fiat Chrysler have similarly been implicated in the probe. But they never seemed the main focus of the investigation, just its point of entry.

Schneider said he was pleased to see Williams being helpful and taking responsibility, adding that the investigation would progress to “continue our drive forward to provide ethical and honest leadership for the UAW’s membership.” While he has not explained what that might entail. he said a temporary takeover of the union was not out of the question. Schneider also did not rule out the possibility of more arrests and additional charges being levied against union members or automotive executives.

[Image: Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock]

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