UAW President Steps Down
Gary Jones has been under investigation for corruption and stealing union members money
After months of investigations into UAW President Gary Jones has finally decided to step aside. In a message sent to the International Executive Board (IEB), Jones asked for and was granted a leave of absence while the federal investigation continues.
The move comes after Jones was formally accused on Thursday of being “UAW Official A” and having split up to $700,000 in union funds with another union official. The far-reaching investigation has been going on for four years. Twelve people from the UAW and auto company officials have been charged so far. Jones was named as part of criminal charges being filed against Edward Robinson, a union official in Missouri, who was charged with conspiracy to embezzle union funds and defraud the United States. Robinson’s office was the same one that Jones once led, and the Regional Director of the office Vance Pearson is currently on leave. Pearson is also facing charges as part of the scandal.
Pressure has been mounting on Jones to step down as the investigation got closer and closer to himself and former President Dennis Williams. In August, federal agents raided Jones home in Canton, Michigan and seized more than $32,000. According to the federal charges issued against Robinson, Jones (named as Official A) told Robinson that one of his relatives would be taken care of if he took responsibility for the embezzlement. Prosecutors have said that this was part of a larger conspiracy to steal $1.5 million in member dues. They believe the dues money was to be spent on personal luxuries during conferences in California and Missouri.
On last week’s UCOMM Live, UAW 259 President Brian Schneck spoke about the investigation and called on Jones to answer to the membership. According to our sources, UAW officials listened to the show and the exposure was the final push that they needed to push Jones into taking the leave of absence. While a leave of absence is a start, some UAW officials would like to put an end to this scandal once and for all.
“I am an advocate for due process and fight for such every day when the bosses are engaging in disciplinary proceedings upon the membership of Local 259,” said Schneck. “I cannot recall any case in where a member was alleged to be a thief that the boss gave our member a paid leave of absence until there was a final disposition. I am rather certain that this is the same in every other Local. So, why is the IEB giving such consideration to Jones? Especially in light of the two criminal complaints issued in the last six weeks identifying “UAW Official A” aka Gary Jones and countless credible news reports outlining his criminal conduct and behavior. Why is the IEB engaging in such disparate treatment? I would rather have had the IEB invoke Article 30 Section 1 paragraph A. as provided for in the IUAW Constitution, as in my view, that is the appropriate action.”
In the UAW Constitution, Articles 30 and 31 lay out the procedure for charging a UAW official with an offense. After a trial, the union constitution allows the union to strip membership from the convicted official.
With Jones taking a leave of absence, Vice President Rory Gamble will take over. Gamble recently bargained a new agreement with Ford, which is being voted on this week.
"If the federal government ends up indicting Gary Jones, the Solidarity House will be forced to call a special convention," said Brian Keller, a UAW member who started the 22,000 UAW Real Talk Facebook. "But we don't want government oversight like the Teamsters got; we just want corrupt leadership to step down. If we can show the government that we can handle our own matters and clean up our own sight, we won't get any government oversight and can do what's best for our members."
With the feds zeroing in on Jones, it may only be a matter of time before he is indicted. It is also very unlikely that Jones will return as President of the union. Let’s hope that Gamble will bring some stability to the union.