The FBI and IRS raided the home of United Auto Workers (UAW) President Gary Jones on Wednesday morning, as apart of a corruption probe on the autoworkers union.
Federal authorities have also raided UAW locations across the country, including their conference center in northern Michigan looking for evidence to bolster their ongoing corruption probe against the influential union.
Jones’ home in Canton, MI, a suburb of Detroit, was raided by up to 12 federal agents who scoured his domicile collecting evidence earlier today. Federal authorities conducted what they call a “knock and announce” raid and refused to say whether anyone was home when it was conducted.
The scandal that prompted the series of raids is related to allegedly misused funds that were intended to be spent on the union’s shared training center with Fiat Chrysler. The scandal also encompasses vendor deals and officials associated with the UAW’s General Motors training center. Nine individuals have been implicated in the scandal thus far.
The UAW has released a statement denying all wrongdoing:
The UAW and President Gary Jones have always fully cooperated with the government investigators in this matter. As the leader of the UAW, President Jones is determined to uncover and address any and all wrongdoing, wherever it might lead. There was absolutely no need for search warrants to be used by the government today — 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 UAW will continue to cooperate with the government in its investigation, as we have been doing throughout.
Trust in UAW leadership is never more important than during the bargaining process, when profit-laden auto companies stand to benefit from media leaks, false assumptions, and political grandstanding. The sole focus of President Jones and his team will be winning at the bargaining table for our members.
Long-time union members are losing faith in their institution as a result of this latest bout of corruption.
“I believe in the UAW. I also believe if there was any corruption, whoever was involved, belongs in jail. If Gary Jones was involved with it, he belongs behind bars. I’m really torn with this. I’m a strong union member. The whole corruption thing, it’s dirty man. How do you preach to new members the UAW cares about you? It doesn’t help the cause,” a Ford factory worker told the Detroit Free Press.
“We’re getting ready to go into one of the biggest negotiations of our lifetime and we’re possibly going to lose faith in our union,” said UAW member Sean Crawford, a worker at GM’s Flint Assembly plant.
“All these people should step down and allow a democratic electoral process to take place, an election of leadership that is run by the members,” Crawford added. “The union has to be blamed for this too and it’s disgusting. It makes us all look bad.”
The UAW, which has been historically plagued with corruption, is no longer protected by a Democratic president who relies on union cronyism for campaign donations. The Trump administration is draining the swamp and protecting workers in a key battleground state with these raids.
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