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Second Ex-UAW President Charged in Corruption Probe

Dennis Williams indicted for embezzling union funds
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Dennis Williams, who led the United Auto Workers between 2014 and 2018, has been charged with embezzling union funds.

Ex-UAW President Dennis Williams  (Image: UAW)

Williams follows ex-President Gary Jones, who pleaded guilty of similar felonies in June. Jones succeeded Williams as head of the UAW in 2018-2019 before resigning last November.

Dirty Dozen

The two are among a dozen union-related people who have been indicted in a continuing U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation that began about four years ago.

The probe focused initially on the embezzlement of $4.5 million intended for a joint UAW-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles worker training center. The enquiry spread to a similar facility run by the union and General Motors, where union officials pressured GM vendors to pay kickbacks on contracts for such paraphernalia as union jackets and backpacks.

More recently, investigators have zeroed in on the misuse of union funds at the UAW’s now dismantled Region 5 office. Williams and Jones each ran Region 5 when the wrongdoing occurred.

Next Steps

The UAW hopes to avoid federal oversight as the indictments and convictions pile up.

Last December, prosecutors were complaining that the union continued to lag in the “active cooperation” they seek in their investigation. But they said a decision on federal oversight would come when the probe is over.

In the meantime, Roy Gamble, who was appointed to take over as leader in December, vows to reform the union. His term will end in 2022 because of the UAW’s age restriction. But it appears likely that the union’s fate will be decided before then.

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