“The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future. I do not want anything to distract from the mission," Jones said in a statement issued by the union. "I want to do what’s best for the members of this great union."
Jones has been implicated in the federal corruption investigation that so far has resulted in 12 charges and 10 guilty pleas. His decision to go on paid leave comes two days after prosecutors accused a former top aide to Jones and six other officials of embezzling $1.5 million in union funds and filing false expense reports to conceal the wrongdoing.
One of the alleged co-conspirators is identified in public documents only as "UAW Official A.” That person is Jones, The Detroit News has reported, citing sources familiar with the case. Jones has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Jones did not attend Friday’s meeting of the UAW’s National Ford Council, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The council voted to send a tentative labor agreement with Ford to rank-and-file members for ratification.
Jones was named the union’s president in June 2018. The News, citing a source, said Jones has agreed to repay any salary received while on paid leave if he is convicted of a crime in connection to the corruption probe.
Gamble, in a statement, said he will remain focused on the union’s ongoing contract negotiations with the Detroit 3.
“Together throughout the last few months, we’ve achieved substantial victories for UAW members and we know that we have more work to do,” he said. “We want better health care coverage, better salaries and respect for our work. That will not change.”