FBI agents swooped in on the homes of United Auto Workers union president Gary Jones and predecessor Dennis Williams Wednesday, apparently as part of a wide-ranging probe of alleged corruption. Federal agents also targeted the union's northern Michigan retreat and a local UAW office in Missouri, among other addresses, CNBC reports. The long-running Justice Department probe of alleged misuse of training center funds has already led to the conviction of three Fiat Chrysler execs and five people affiliated with the UAW, but the targeting of union leaders is seen as a new step in the investigation. The union strongly criticized the search of Jones' home in suburban Detroit, the AP reports. "President Jones is determined to uncover and address any and all wrongdoing, wherever it might lead," the UAW said in a statement.
"There was absolutely no need for search warrants to be used by the government today," the union said, adding that it has "voluntarily responded to every request the government has made throughout the course of its investigation, produced literally hundreds of thousands of documents and other materials to the government, and most importantly, when wrongdoing has been discovered, we have taken strong action to address it." With contracts between the UAW and automakers due to expire Sept. 14, the union said the focus of Jones and other leaders is "winning at the bargaining table for our members." Labor experts tell the Detroit Free Press that while the raid on Jones' home does not mean he is guilty of anything, the increased distrust of the leader is likely to complicate negotiations. (Read more United Auto Workers stories.)