Missouri Can Send a Message to Corrupt Union Bosses
Shady Union Bosses Win If Right To Work Loses
Will Missouri Autoworkers Keep Being Forced to Bankroll UAW Dons?
The scandal implicating several top officers of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union along with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) executives that first became national news in July 2017 has now reached an even higher level of severity.
Three former members of the UAW’s FCA negotiating team have already been charged with, and two have already pleaded guilty to, participating in a years-long scheme to steal millions of dollars from a worker training center funded by FCA.
And media reports indicate several other former and current UAW bosses are now under investigation by the FBI for suspected misappropriation of National Training Center (NTC) funds for the benefit of themselves and/or their friends and relatives.
In June, the Detroit News reported that prosecutors had begun labeling the UAW union and the FCA corporation themselves, along with crooked UAW bosses and FCA executives, as “coconspirators” in a scheme to systematically violate federal labor law.
Party For UAW Veep Allegedly Funded With $30,000 From Training Center
As examples of flagrant abuse of funds supposedly set aside to benefit workers, the News cited payments of $436,000 to a company controlled by then-UAW Vice President General Holiefield (who passed away in 2015) and his widow, Monica Morgan-Holiefield, and $262,000 to pay off the Holiefields’ mortgage.
Another $30,000 in training center money was allegedly spent “throwing a party” in 2014 for former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell:
“The party included ‘ultra-premium’ liquor, strolling models who lit labor leaders’ cigars and a $3000 tab for wine in bottles with custom labels that featured Jewell’s name.”
(Mr. Jewell has yet to be charged with any crime, but he reportedly remains under investigation.)
A guilty plea entered by former FCA executive Michael Brown in late May revealed, for the first time, that investigators believe NTC funds were funneled not just to UAW and FCA officials, but also to the coffers of UAW itself.
The May 25 plea states that, from 2009 to 2015, Mr. Brown, who helped run the FCA training center, and other FCA executives authorized Mr. Holiefield and other powerful UAW bosses to “offer sham employment status at the NTC to a number of their friends, families and allies.”
Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Allegedly Funneled Illegally Into UAW Treasuries
Cronies of the UAW brass on the UAW payroll were allegedly placed under a phony “special assignment” status at the NTC.
Subsequently, hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments were made to the UAW “in the guise of reimbursement for 100% of the salaries and benefits the UAW paid to members of the UAW International Staff,” even though it was understood “those individuals did little or no work on behalf of the NTC.”
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:
“It strains credibility that recently installed UAW President Gary Jones, who once was the international union’s chief accountant and has been a member of the UAW executive board since 2013, could have been unaware of the fact that the NTC was being looted.”
As Scandal Unfolds, Workers Are Forced by Federal Law To Keep Paying Dues to UAW
Mr. Mix added that forced unionism is “an important and underreported aspect” of the widening scandal implicating UAW bosses and FCA executives.
“Under Section 9(a) of the Taft-Hartley Act,” he noted, “Organized Labor bosses wield the power to force individual employees, whether they want a union or not, to accept it as their monopoly-bargaining agent.”
Forced Unionism Binds Workers So They Can’t Counter Suspected Corruption
“And as a consequence of a handful of other special-interest provisions in federal labor law,” Mr. Mix added, “thousands of production employees in auto assembly plants located in Illinois and Ohio, two states that still lack Right to Work laws, continue to be forced to pay union dues or fees to the tainted UAW.
“If they refuse, they can be fired.
“On the other hand, FCA, GM and Ford employees in Right to Work states like Michigan, Texas, Kentucky and Indiana are free to protest allegedly rampant union corruption by resigning from the UAW and cutting off all financial support for it, without having to lose their jobs.”
Mr. Mix added that, among the 28 states that have enacted Right to Work laws, Missouri is the only one where auto assembly workers are still being forced to pay union dues or fees to the very UAW that federal prosecutors have described as a “coconspirator” in systematic labor-law violations.
He explained: “Missouri is different from other states that have enacted Right to Work laws.”
Quirk in State Code Used to Block Right To Work Implementation
Big Labor has been able to use a quirk in the Missouri legal code to block implementation of an 18 month-old Right to Work statute by gathering petitions from roughly one-sixth as many citizens as those voting for the unabashedly pro-Right to Work gubernatorial candidate on the ballot in 2016.
The Big Labor petition drive also imposed a requirement that, unless voters who already elected a pro-Right to Work governor and hefty pro-Right to Work legislative majorities reaffirm their opposition to forced unionism in a statewide vote, the Right to Work law will be permanently wiped off the books.
If union bosses and their propagandists now stop passage of Missouri’s Proposi-tion A, which will be considered by the state’s voters on August 7, employees who suspect union bosses are misappropriating funds will continue to be prevented from fighting back by refusing to pay any union dues or fees.
Auto union officials who are facing FBI questions about their silent acquiescence to or their active participation in the looting of worker training center funds are far from the only unsavory Organized Labor figures who will gain if Proposition A loses.
This spring, former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova, the independent investigations officer (IIO) appointed by the Teamsters Union under a consent agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, ratcheted up a probe into potential illegal conflicts of interest reaching into the union’s highest ranks.
Jim Hoffa, Other Suspect Teamster Kingpins Would Also Gain From Proposition A Defeat
According to a May 10 AP news story by Mike Schneider, Mr. diGenova is investigating “whether top Teamster leaders accepted undisclosed gifts from a business that brokered health benefits for the union.”
His subpoena “seeks records showing whether Teamster officials were given undisclosed golf outings, expensive meals or tickets to sporting events.”
It also seeks “any evidence that may exist about whether Teamsters officers were hired by the providers or broker and whether payments were made to Teamster officials, including its top leader, James Hoffa, or their relatives.”
“Compulsory union dues and fees help Big Labor bosses run their organizations for their own benefit, at workers’ expense,” said Mr. Mix.
“It will be a shame if the massive Big Labor propaganda blitz now underway in the Show-Me State succeeds in enabling apparently ethically impaired union bosses like Gary Jones and Jim Hoffa to continue forcing Missouri workers to pay their unmerited salaries.”
Mr. Mix vowed that National Right to Work Committee leaders and members would do everything reasonably possible to help Missouri citizens get back their Right to Work.