In case you haven’t been watching the news, you may not know that United Auto Workers, the union representing more than 34,000 public employees in higher education across California, has been up to its eyeballs in a corruption scandal for the past few years.
Historically known as the union of private-sector auto workers, UAW branched out a few decades ago in order to further pad the pockets of its leaders.
We last wrote about UAW back in September, when federal law enforcement raided the homes and other properties owned by UAW officials. These raids included the home of UAW President Gary Jones, former president Dennis Williams and several other notable UAW officials.
The raids were in response to allegations of misused union resources, embezzlement, fraud and corruption by multiple UAW officials including Jones and Williams. Allegations of ultra-premium liquor, expensive cigars, expensive parties and scantily clad women — all paid for with union dues — have dogged UAW for months.
While Jones maintained his innocence throughout the entirety of the scandal, it appears his actions finally caught up with him. In late November, UAW’s executive board unanimously voted to remove him. Instead of being removed, he instead chose to resign in shame.
While Jones has not been formally charged with any crimes, several other high-ranking union officials have been.
The latest scandal to rock UAW came on the heels of a federal racketeering lawsuit claiming UAW officials accepted bribes in exchange for a weaker bargaining position.
The allegation that a seemingly corrupt union acted in a corrupt way might be the least shocking surprise of 2019.
As recently as Dec. 11, federal corruption investigators have begun scrutinizing a fire that broke out at the UAW headquarters on July 13, which has created concern among investigators that vital records may have been destroyed. Asking for security camera footage and visitor logs, federal investigators are concerned the fire may have been less than accidental.
To date, more than a dozen UAW officials have been charged with a wide range of crimes.
While this case is still ongoing, and we may not know the extent of UAW’s corruption for years to come, it’s important that the thousands of public employees across California represented by this union know who collects their dues.