Singer described Pietrzyk as having a lesser role in the scheme than others who have been charged or may be in the future.
“He was approached by someone who was in power over him and asked to do something,” Singer said, “and he did it.”
In a statement, the UAW said: “The criminal conduct Jeff Pietrzyk has admitted is appalling and goes against everything we stand for as a union. The UAW leadership is committed to acting in the best interest of its members and will continue to focus on achieving the best contracts possible for our members in the coming weeks."
Pietrzyk was co-director of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, a training center jointly operated by the union and the automaker. The money taken by him and the officials he admitted to conspiring with came from the training center.
GM and the UAW have agreed to close the training center under the tentative agreement they reached last week. The deal, which is being voted on this week by the more than 46,000 GM workers who have been on strike since mid-September, calls for the center’s building in Detroit to be sold and for GM to be in control of administering and funding future joint training activities.
Pietrzyk was charged in September, days after the UAW's contract with GM expired. The long-simmering scandal also has implicated the union's current president, Gary Jones, and predecessor Dennis Williams, though no charges have been filed against either man.
Ashton, who retired in 2014, also has not been charged with a crime, though The Detroit News has identified him as an unnamed official in documents filed by the Justice Department alleged to have conspired with Pietrzyk.