UAW bol­sters fi­nan­cial con­trols af­ter scan­dal

The Washington Post - - ECONOMY & BUSINESS -

The United Auto Work­ers union has re­placed its au­dit­ing firm, added four in­ter­nal au­di­tors and has hired a big ac­count­ing firm to study its fi­nan­cial con­trols in an ef­fort to pre­vent em­bez­zle­ment and bribery dis­cov­ered in a fed­eral probe of the union.

The moves an­nounced Mon­day by Sec­re­tary-trea­surer Ray Curry come af­ter last month’s res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Gary Jones, who has been im­pli­cated in the scan­dal. Sev­eral other union of­fi­cials have been charged or im­pli­cated in the probe, which em­bar­rassed the union lead­er­ship and an­gered many of its 400,000 mem­bers when it be­came public start­ing in 2017.

Curry says the re­forms will put checks and bal­ances in place to pre­vent fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct.

The scan­dal ex­posed weak fi­nan­cial con­trols at the union, which al­lowed a bribery scan­dal in­volv­ing Fiat Chrysler’s joint train­ing cen­ter with the union.

Also ex­posed were the em­bez­zle­ment of hundreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in the pur­chase of 58,000 watches for union mem­bers by the UAWGen­eral Mo­tors train­ing cen­ter and an em­bez­zle­ment scheme at a re­gional of­fice in St. Louis in­volv­ing the pur­chase of thou­sands of dol­lars of ex­pen­sive cigars and al­co­hol, golf greens fees and rental of swanky vil­las for union lead­ers. Funds al­legedly were falsely rep­re­sented as re­gional con­fer­ence ex­penses.

The fed­eral probe brought an un­prece­dented fed­eral law­suit from Gen­eral Mo­tors last month against Fiat Chrysler, al­leg­ing the com­pany bribed union of­fi­cials to get lower la­bor costs than GM.

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