DETROIT -- The federal government looks increasingly likely to take over the UAW, with the federal prosecutor leading a years-long criminal investigation citing “systemic” corruption and one of its top leaders sounding resigned to the prospect.
Hours after filing criminal charges against Gary Jones, who stepped down as UAW president after being implicated in the scandal, U.S. Attorney Matt Schneider reiterated what he’s said for months: that the union hasn’t cooperated with the government and that federal oversight is a possibility. Federal prosecutors just stepped aside after having played a role in managing the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for 30 years.
“We have a systemic problem within the union,” Schneider said of the UAW. “We have systemic corruption within the union and that is why we aren’t taking oversight off the table. If it worked for the Teamsters, maybe it could work here.”
Speculation about a federal takeover of the UAW has been rampant in recent months. Automotive News raised the specter of such an action nearly a year ago.
Cindy Estrada, the UAW vice president who oversees unionized workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, countered that the union has taken measures to prevent abuses, such as adding an ombudsman and ethics officer. When asked at a powertrain plant in Kokomo, Ind., about the prospect of prolonged government oversight, she said that decision was out of the union’s hands.
“So much of that is not within our control,” she said. “I feel confident in the steps that we’re taking right now.”