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Bad News for United Auto Workers President

The feds accuse Gary Jones of embezzlement
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2019 3:30 PM CDT
In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Gary Jones, United Auto Workers President, speaks during the opening of their contract talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Auburn Hills, Mich.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

(Newser) – The president of United Auto Workers has stepped aside while a federal embezzlement probe closes in on him, the Wall Street Journal reports. Gary Jones took a leave of absence—paid leave, in other words—only days after a top aide was formally charged. But the charge against Edward Robinson, that he embezzled as much as $700,000 in union dues, says he split the money with "UAW Official A." And that official is Jones, per a source inside the investigation. "We take any allegation or claim about the misuse of union resources very seriously," the union said Thursday. "The UAW remains focused on negotiating and completing strong contracts for our members."

That likely means the UAW wants to wrap up multi-billion-dollar negotiations for its roughly 150,000 workers with Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV before having Jones step down. "It's quite possible he would be removed from office as soon as they are done," a car industry specialist tells the Detroit Free Press. "I think the UAW wants to have an innocent-until-proven-guilty type of situation." The alleged scheme involves forcing UAW staffers to contribute money to a UAW solidarity fund—that paid for flowers sent to auto workers' funerals—and then keeping the money. Union leaders are also accused of taking bribes including money from Fiat Chrysler, per CNN. (The FBI raided Jones' house in August.)

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