United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Matthew Schneider, has said new details about the ever expanding UAW corruption probe have been trickling in. But he’s also criticizing the union for not providing adequate cooperation throughout the multi-year investigative process. Schneider indicated there was new evidence included additional details of malfeasance from former UAW President Gary Jones shared by the union in November. While the prosecutor did not offer details, he said it was the type of information that should have been reported to his office, not publicly.
Automotive News surmised he was likely referencing details released late last month by the union’s executive board in an effort to remove Jones and Region 5 Director Vance Pearson. That report included allegations that Jones let his daughter use a UAW-rented townhouse in Palm Springs, California. Sources familiar with the situation have confirmed that the union publicly released information against the two at roughly the same time it was handed it over to the U.S. attorney’s office.
If you’ve followed the news lately, that headline could easily include the term “scandal-plagued” twice. Fiat Chrysler, currently pursuing a merger deal with Groupe PSA while battling a racketeering lawsuit filed by General Motors, has inked a tentative four-year labor deal with the United Auto Workers — a union facing the biggest scandal in its history.
At least in this latest round of bargaining, the UAW didn’t have its former president, Gary Jones, lurking in the background under a cloud of suspicion. Jones resigned as president, and then from the union altogether, late last month after the board moved to oust him.
Like parent Volkswagen, premium auto brand Audi is embarking on an electrified journey and, like VW, it would prefer to see the route paved with profits. A difficult task, given the expense of developing such powertrains and the currently limited public demand for the vehicles they power.
Still, Audi is determined to see it through, hoping that one day, perhaps at the mid-point of the coming decade, it will be able to turn a healthy profit off of EVs in a marketplace that’s more receptive of the technology. To get to that promised land, the company will need to free up cash, and it plans to find that dough in its labor costs.
Expect cuts, the company claims.
Following the resignation of scandal-tainted UAW President Gary Jones late last week, UAW Region 5 Director Vance Pearson took the cue and followed him out the door. Pearson, charged with embezzlement and money laundering in an ongoing federal corruption probe, was, like Jones, on a paid leave of absence.
Both men headed for the exit after the UAW, newly infused with an reformist attitude, moved to oust the officials.
There was no thanking Pearson for his service.
The reforms announced by UAW Acting President Rory Gamble last week are already resulting in casualties. On Wednesday, the United Auto Workers Executive Board filed charges against President Gary Jones and Region 5 Director Vance Pearson under Article 30 of the UAW Constitution in a bid to oust them from the scandal-rocked union.
Jones, who took a leave of absence earlier this month amid growing suspicion of criminality, resigned almost immediately. Pearson, charged with embezzlement of union funds and money laundering, remains on his own leave of absence — one that’s likely to become permanent.
As members of the media swarm over new vehicles in Los Angeles, a legal drama is playing out in Detroit. General Motors has filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against cross-town rival Fiat Chrysler, alleging FCA conspired to undermine the collective bargaining process and create unfair advantages by bribing UAW officials.
This cost GM lots of money, the automaker claims, and now it wants to collect.
“This lawsuit is intended to hold FCA accountable for the harm its actions have caused our company and to ensure a level playing field going forward,” said Craig Glidden, GM Executive Vice President and General Counsel, in a statement.
There’s a ways to go before Fiat Chrysler and France’s Groupe PSA officially slip the ring onto the other’s finger, but the engagement seems strong. Stronger, in fact, now that a majority of labor unions representing PSA workers have voiced approval for the proposed merger.
As the wedding day approaches, European labor bosses promise to dig through any and all agreements, searching for any clause or decision that might hurt their members.
After UAW-affiliated Ford workers ratified a collective agreement Friday, Fiat Chrysler is next — and last — in line to hammer out a deal with the union. Ford has an easy go of it, requiring just five days of bargaining before reaching a tentative deal; earlier, General Motors suffered financial hardship after its U.S. workforce walked off the job for 40 days.
Being first at the table, GM’s bargaining is seen as the heaviest lifting of the Detroit Three. Its deal serves as a model for others to follow, and you can be sure the wage increases, pathways to full-time employment, and status-quo healthcare benefits contained within will be held up by UAW bargaining team members when they face the FCA team.
However, for FCA, the nature of the automaker’s workforce could make reaching a deal a rocky journey.
Avoiding the six-week strike that marked the end of contract negotiations between the UAW and General Motors, unionized workers at Ford ratified a four-year labor deal on Friday by a fairly narrow margin.
Roughly 55,000 UAW-affiliated Ford workers voted 56.3 percent in favor of the new deal, which carries many of the benefits secured through the earlier GM contract. It’s on to Fiat Chrysler after this.
They’re not calling it that, but we are. The United Auto Workers, rocked by scandal and indictments stemming from an ongoing federal corruption probe, is embarking on a serious clean-up operation in a bid to maintain its autonomy.
Under the direction of Acting President Rory Gamble, the union has outlined a series of reforms intended to keep the federal government from stepping in and grabbing the tiller.
Reports have come in from Germany that Mercedes-Benz has decided to reduce its management staff by around 10 percent globally. On Friday, German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung wrote that Daimler CEO Ola Källenius wishes to delete around 1,100 management posts while freezing wages for all 300,000 German employees — citing internal documents from the automaker’s works council.
Handelsblatt also said it intercepted a copy of the letter, with both outlets claiming Daimler would elaborate further on the plan this Thursday. While Mercedes said it couldn’t comment on the matter, its restructuring push was no secret, even before Källenius took over as chairman in May.
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.
Federal prosecutors aren’t letting up on their ongoing investigation into bribery, corruption, and embezzlement in the high offices of the United Auto Workers, with former vice president Joe Ashton becoming the 13th official charged in the scandal.
On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Ashton, who retired in 2014, with wire fraud and money laundering in a wide-ranging conspiracy that saw officials demand bribes and kickbacks in exchange for contracts to certain vendors. With this latest development, Ashton becomes the highest-ranking official to land in the legal hot seat.
It might not be a position he holds for long.
With UAW President Gary Jones taking a leave of absence during a broadening corruption probe into the union, acting head Rory Gamble is attempting to reassure members that there’ll be no more funny business.
“I know recent events concerning members of our leadership have disappointed and angered many of you. I am angry as well, but I am not here to pre-judge anyone. I am here to take this union forward,” he wrote in a letter.
The message, published Tuesday, saw Gamble take a firm stance on corruption and a slightly softer one regarding previously accused (or convicted) union leaders.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Sunday that her country will soon have one million charging stations ready for electric cars. Her words came ahead of numerous meetings with German automotive manufacturers on how best to spur EV adoption in Europe.
Pivoting to zero-emission vehicles has many worried about job losses. The United Auto Workers issued a nearly 40-page report on the implications of electric vehicles and how to address them during its negotiations with General Motors — after the automaker said the battery plant it was eyeballing in Ohio would require hourly employees to take pay cuts. The Center for Automotive Research has also indicated that EVs simply don’t take as many man hours to manufacture. It’s even mentioned in the Trump administration’s fuel economy rollback proposal — an effort bent on furnishing cheap automobiles and American jobs.
Germany is worried too, with groups echoing similar employment concerns. To mitigate those fears, while encouraging electrification and maintaining jobs, the nation wants to take its 20,000 charging stations to 1 million.
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