Last week, the UAW and the U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement to end the criminal investigation into the UAW. Twelve former UAW officials have been convicted of embezzling UAW-Chrysler training funds and UAW dues money and are serving time in a federal penitentiary. The convicted include two former UAW presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. With the illicit funds, the UAW officials, among other things, purchased boats, paid off a mortgage, bought jewel-encrusted pens, and spent extravagantly at Palm Springs resorts and the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Under the agreement, the Justice Department and a federal judge would appoint an independent monitor to oversee the UAW’s operations for six years. The monitor would have the power to audit and investigate all aspects of the UAW, but would not be involved in collective bargaining negotiations. The UAW would pay for the monitor.
The Justice Department stopped short of a complete takeover of the UAW, akin to the Teamsters, because the Department concluded that organized crime had not infiltrated the UAW.
Additionally, under the agreement, the UAW membership would vote on how UAW national leaders are chosen. Presently, the UAW leadership is chosen by a delegate system that, in essence, allows the current leaders to choose their successors. The UAW membership would vote on whether to keep the current delegate system or have direct elections of the national UAW leadership. The independent monitor would conduct the election.
Before the agreement is effective, the federal judge overseeing the criminal cases must approve it.