Waterloo Region Record

Federal agents raid home of United Auto Workers president

Search warrants executed at home of Gary Jones and conference center used by union


Federal agents on Wednesday searched the home of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones and a northern Michigan conference centre used by union leaders, according to an FBI spokeswoma­n.

The moves mark the widening of a multi-year criminal investigat­ion into alleged corruption in the UAW’s top ranks, which has already resulted in charges against nine people.

Federal prosecutor­s are investigat­ing allegation­s of bribes, kickbacks and other financial misconduct among union officials in their dealings with the car companies and during the bargaining process.

The UAW said in a statement that Mr. Jones has fully cooperated and there was no need for search warrants to be used by the government. “The UAW 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,” the union said.

Mr. Jones, who took over as UAW president last year, is the highest-ranking UAW official to be investigat­ed in the probe that first became public in 2017.

In addition to Mr. Jones’s home, federal investigat­ors also executed a search warrant on the UAW’s conference centre in Black Lake, Mich. and other locations outside of the state, the FBI spokeswoma­n said.

Mr. Jones, at a UAW convention in March, pledged to enact a series of reforms that aimed to provide more oversight of financial transactio­ns carried out by officials.

The union represents nearly 150,000 factory workers at Fiat Chrysler, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. Last month, the UAW officially began bargaining with the Detroit car companies to replace labour deals expiring on Sept. 14, a process that is largely conducted in private.

The federal investigat­ion has gained momentum in recent months, following a prison sentence for Norwood Jewell, a former top-ranking UAW official who led bargaining with Fiat Chrysler, and the indictment of Michael Grimes, a former administra­tive assistant in the union’s GM department.

Alphons Iacobelli, a former head of labour relations at Fiat Chrysler, was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison last year after pleading guilty to making illegal payments to UAW leaders and to filing a false tax return that failed to include income illegally siphoned from the company.

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