DETROIT — The UAW, in the wake of federal corruption charges filed Thursday against former President Gary Jones, faces unprecedented scrutiny and new regulations moving forward as prosecutors continue to mull seeking Teamsters-style government supervision of the union, experts said.
"This is a straightforward embezzlement case; they stole money from members," said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University.
Jones, 62, is due in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Thursday, March 19 for a 4 p.m. ET plea hearing where he is expected to plead guilty. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. He is expected to cooperate with the government's ongoing investigation.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider has complained publicly that the UAW has not been cooperative throughout the investigation. And federal prosecutors expect cooperation — anything less is a bad signal to send from the UAW, Henning said.
Schneider said Thursday, "We aren't taking oversight off the table. If it worked for the Teamsters, maybe it could work here."
Art Wheaton, a labor expert from Cornell University, suggests that the UAW implement additional rules, government oversight and more transparency. The Department of Labor did just that on Thursday, announcing tighter rules on labor unions' annual financial disclosures.