DETROIT — The UAW on Tuesday named Wilma Liebman, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, as its first independent ethics officer in the latest attempt by UAW President Rory Gamble to root out corruption and avoid a potential federal takeover.
Liebman, 69, was first appointed to the NLRB in 1997 and served as chairman under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2011.
In her new role, Liebman will work with third-party company Exiger LLC, which the union has tapped to serve as its new ethics ombudsman. Exiger workers will screen and investigate tips placed to a new ethics hotline, which goes live today, the union said.
Gamble first announced the search for an ombudsman and independent ethics officer in November, shortly after taking over for ex-President Gary Jones, who is expected to plead guilty to charges of embezzlement next month as part of a yearslong federal corruption investigation.
"While our country and union navigate the difficult challenges of this pandemic, today's actions mark an important step in the progress of our ethics reform agenda and underline our unwavering pledge to our members that their union is committed to operating at the highest level of integrity on their behalf," Gamble said in a statement.
"We know that in hiring Ms. Liebman to lead this important work, we are gaining an expert on labor law, widely respected for her knowledge and integrity, who will set a high bar for our union in the years to come. Also, with the infrastructure we are putting in place to ensure members can report financial or ethics complaints on a confidential basis, we are installing critical pieces to receive and investigate information about alleged wrongdoing."
Liebman, in a statement, said she was honored to be named to the post.
"My job, first and foremost, will be to ensure UAW leaders and employees operate with the utmost integrity, and that any unethical conduct is promptly investigated and properly acted upon," she said.
"The UAW has a proud history, and it is critical that its members have full confidence in their union's strong future. I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens."
Liebman's appointment comes as federal prosecutors continue to dangle the possibility of placing the UAW into federal receivership through the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.