The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is in deep trouble. News recently broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has expanded its corruption investigation to include a member of General Motors’ board and the UAW’s training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers. According to the Detroit News:
Investigators are interested in Joe Ashton, a retired UAW vice president appointed to GM’s board in 2014, and Cindy Estrada, his successor in charge of the union’s GM department, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Ashton is the highest-ranking official whose name has surfaced in connection with a criminal investigation into whether money and illegal benefits corrupted the bargaining process.
The investigation focuses on whether training funds were misappropriated. Earlier this year, former Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli and Monica Morgan-Holiefield, the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, were indicted and accused of violating the Labor Management Relations Act. They allegedly participated in a $4.5 million scheme that siphoned corporate training funds earmarked for blue-collar workers and spent the money on various luxuries. This includes a $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, one private jet, two limited edition Mont Blanc pens costing $75,000, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements to private residences, among other expenses.
As the Detroit Free Press described it, “UAW officials ran a sophisticated money laundering scheme.” Now it’s getting worse: The FBI has issued numerous subpoenas for information about training centers financed by Ford and General Motors that are operated jointly with the UAW.
Whatever the final outcome, union members deserve a lengthy explanation.