Did UAW Bosses Steal Workers’ Forced Dues in Order to Buy ‘Condominiums, Liquor, Food and Golf’?
A recent update regarding the ever-expanding United Auto Workers (UAW) union corruption scandal by Detroit News journalists Robert Snell and Daniel Howes suggests more indictments may well be coming.Three former UAW union officials and the widow of a deceased UAW vice president have already been convicted, and recently-indicted former Vice President Norwood Jewell is reportedly expected to plead guilty this week, perhaps as soon as today, to participating in the conspiracy to misappropriate worker training funds.
Snell and Howes looked into the UAW hierarchy’s putative funeral “flower funds,” which they call “one of several avenues being pursued” in the ongoing probe:
Federal agents are investigating whether senior [UAW] staff were forced to contribute money to funds originally established to buy flowers for auto workers’ funerals, and whether union executives pocketed the cash.
Investigators are questioning whether UAW [officers] threatened to send high-level staffers back to the assembly line if they failed to contribute to so-called [funeral] flower funds controlled by union presidents, vice presidents, and regional directors, three sources familiar with the investigation said.
“This could be explosive . . . ,” said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor.
According to Snell and Howe, federal agents are also asking questions about UAW bosses’ expenditure of “almost $1 million in membership dues” on “condominiums, liquor, food and golf in California, where former Region 5 Director Gary Jones held annual conferences” before he became UAW president in 2018. While 27 states, including Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Kentucky, now have Right to Work laws, union dues remain compulsory in states like Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri.
Yet another area of investigation is whether former UAW President Dennis Williams, Jones’ immediate predecessor, “directed subordinates to use funds from Detroit’s automakers, funneled through training centers, to pay for union travel, meals and entertainment . . . .”
The alleged use of the threat of being sent back to the factory floor to cow reluctant UAW staff members into contributing to phony funeral flower funds that top union bosses then used to bankroll their lavish lifestyles seems par for the course for the UAW. In states that still lack Right to Work protections for employees, UAW bosses routinely and openly threaten rank-and-file autoworkers with termination if they refuse to pay union dues or fees to a union many would never voluntarily join. Why would anyone be shocked if it UAW chiefs resorted to similar extortion tactics to squeeze funeral-flower-funds money out of their own employees?