Freedom Foundation

UAW leaders about to face the music for living large on members’ dues

The United Auto Workers (UAW) have been embroiled for years in a corruption probe involving multiple senior leaders and high-ranking union officials. UAW, which primarily represents auto manufacturing employees working for companies like General Motors and Ford, expanded into the public sector in the 1990’s by unionizing university employees across the country.

UAW locals 2865, 4123 and 5810 collectively represent more than 34,500 public university employees across California, which accounts for 11.3 percent of the union’s total membership.

Those university employees were in for a rude awakening when a string of raids conducted by the FBI, IRS and other federal agencies began targeting the homes of former and current UAW union leaders earlier this month.

These include:

  • current UAW president Gary Jones;
  • former UAW president Dennis Williams — who, although outside of his home smoking a cigar during the search of his home, was held at gunpoint for some unexplained reason; and,
  • a 1,000-acre UAW-owned resort in Onaway, Mich.

The raids came in response to allegations of misused union resources, embezzlement, fraud and corruption by previous and current UAW officials who engaged in a life of luxury courtesy of their members’ dues dollars.

Unsealed court documents show that union officials purchased high-end liquor, cigars, golf clubs, sports attire, luxury condos, months-long hotel stays and a variety of other goodies by padding union expense reports.

But wait, there’s more. Parties thrown by Norwood Jewell, a former UAW vice president who oversaw labor relations — and was subsequently sentenced to 15 months in prison for his corrupt actions — allegedly featured ultra-premium liquor, a professional cigar roller and “kandy girls” who were paid to dress in skimpy clothing and light cigars.

While there’s little UAW-represented employees working for private companies in non-right-to-work states can do to express their displeasure with the union’s corruption, employees of public universities can in California can stop their dues from going to support the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by UAW bosses.