Federal officials last year raided the homes of Jones, Williams and other UAW officials. Williams was reportedly handcuffed and held at gunpoint as agents searched his California home, according to The Detroit News.
The UAW this month said it would stop paying Williams' legal fees related to the federal government's corruption probe and in June said he had paid back more than $50,000 in travel expenses deemed "not appropriate."
The union has also sold a northern Michigan cottage built for Williams partly with nonunion labor.
Williams rose to the union’s most powerful position in 2014 hoping to bring a disciplined, business-oriented mindset to the union. He restructured the UAW’s regions, cut costs, instituted budgets by departments and balanced the union’s books. UAW membership rose by 27,405 from 2014 to 2017, the last full year he was in office.
But during that time, prosecutors say, Williams was living large on his members’ dime. Among the alleged indiscretions, Williams racked up tens of thousands of dollars staying at a villa in Palm Springs months at a time and paid with UAW funds.
He also allegedly accepted a portion of $6,000 in golf certificates, given out by Jones, and paid for with UAW money. The feds also say he accepted a portion of cigars ordered by Jones.
The UAW, in a statement, said it is aware of the charges.
“Any violation of Mr. Williams' oath of office and his responsibility to oversee our members and their sacred dues money, should rightfully face criminal penalty,” spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in a statement. “Today’s development is a sad day for UAW members. But it is also a humbling day of truth and justice demonstrating that no one is above the law, regardless of their position.”
Rothenberg stressed reform efforts by current President Rory Gamble. Gamble recently met with Schneider to discuss further changes aimed at rooting out corruption.
“As we have committed to our membership, when the UAW finds there has been wrongdoing, we will take all available actions to hold that person accountable, no matter how high the office they hold,” Rothenberg said. “Let us begin to turn the page to a better union -- but let us never forget the painful lessons of the past.”
Talks to reform the UAW are going well but a federal takeover remains an option, Schneider said.
Federal and union officials are "actively talking" and "making great progress," he told Reuters in an interview.
"All options are still on the table and they will be until we can resolve this," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.