Freedom Foundation

Federal Investigation into UAW Widens as UC Santa Barbara Student Employees Strike

University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) students went on strike last week citing issues with a cost of living adjustment (COLA), acting in solidarity with UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) graduate students who had been striking for the previous two weeks over the same issue.

While the amount of the COLA changes by campus, UCSB graduate students are demanding a monthly amount of $1,807, given to all graduate students regardless of their actual salary. Many graduate students are declaring a wildcat strike.

This isn’t your typical strike endorsed, or even organized, by their union. Unlike other forms of strikes, which are generally legal for public employees in California, a ‘wildcat’ strike is unsanctioned by the union and does not follow the typical rules for conflict resolution and avoiding impasses.

In a bold reaction to the wildcat strike, UCSC administrators sent more than 50 termination notices to graduate students for refusing to do their jobs. As part of the strike, USCS graduate students refused to submit grades for the classes they work with.

While it’s unfortunate that these employees lost their jobs, perhaps they should consider affiliating with a union more in line with their interests. Unfortunately for them, their parent union is far too mired in a scandal of their own to focus on the needs of their dues payers.

Many University of California employees, including graduate students, are represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) which has been caught in an ever-widening federal probe into corruption for the past four years.

In a recent breakthrough, former President Gary Jones was indicted for embezzlement of union funds, along with other crimes. A recently unsealed indictment accuses Gary Jones of misusing more than $1 million of union money for extravagant meals, golf outings, apparels, and cigars even before he was elected president in 2018.

In 2018, Gary Jones lead the union through a 40-day strike against general motors. We recently learned that the investigation stemmed from a 2015 federal investigation which lead to several Fiat Chrysler executives being sentenced on charges that they allowed UAW officials to divert money from worker training to personal travel and shopping.

This led to General Motors filing a lawsuit and accusing Fiat Chrysler of bribing union officials to get a leg up on G.M in contract negotiations. One must wonder if these events are linked at all, perhaps by corruption.

Following this thread, those with some extra spending money looking for a nice property in Onaway, Michigan can now buy the $1.3 million scandal-plagued vacation home of former President Dennis Williams, predecessor to Gary Jones, which is rumored to be paid for by Detroit automakers with non-union labor.

The property was put on the market in order to avoid the image of corruption.

Too little too late if you ask us.

With the indictment of former President Gary Jones, at least 14 officials have been formally indicted in a wide range of crimes. While UAW might not care about their dues payers, the Freedom Foundation will always stand behind public employees who choose to exercise their constitutional right to cease paying union dues.

You can view a timeline of the UAW corruption probe here. You can also view our previous coverage of UAW’s corrupt dealings below.

UAW’s Corrupt Fingerprints All Over California’s Public Sector.

UAW Leaders About to Face the Music for Living Large on Member’s Dues.