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U.S. Overseers Could Take Control of UAW

The United Auto Workers union could face federal oversight, depending upon the depth of corruption uncovered by a continuing federal investigation.
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The United Auto Workers union could face federal oversight, depending upon the depth of corruption uncovered by a continuing federal investigation.

A four-year-long investigation by the FBI, Dept. of Labor and Justice Dept. so far has charged 13 people with wrongdoing and delivered 10 guilty pleas. Most of those involved are either former UAW executives or their relatives and associates. The probe has implicated two ex-UAW presidents, several union vice presidents and Sergio Marchionne, the late CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider tells The Detroit News he is not impressed by the UAW’s reforms and level of cooperation to date. He says the Justice Dept. can’t “fully return” the UAW to its members “unless everybody’s on board, and that includes the leadership.”

The UAW insists it is implementing fundamental changes in its financial procedures and turning over whatever records the government requires.

But in August, when Justice Dept. officials raided six UAW facilities and the homes of the union’s current and past presidents, the union described the searches as unnecessary. Schneider retorts that the raids were forced by the union leadership’s lack of proactive commitment.

“Active cooperation isn’t, ‘Ask us questions and we’ll answer them,’” he tells Automotive News. “Active cooperation is, ‘We want to help you; here’s what we know.’”

Schneider says it’s premature to think about federal oversight, noting there are more criminal cases to finish. But legal experts say his comments are a clear message to the UAW’s leadership that investigators expect greater involvement.

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