DETROIT — In his first two months as president of the UAW, Rory Gamble swiftly enacted common-sense reforms aimed at ending the corruption and malfeasance that has plagued the union for years.
It still might not be enough for the union to avoid its worst-case scenario: government oversight.
The years-long federal investigation that as of last week had produced charges against 13 individuals and netted 11 guilty pleas is far from over, intensifying as new tips emerged after prosecutors asked the public for leads. One of those tips alleges that Gamble and former UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles accepted kickbacks from a vendor, The Detroit News reported, although all parties have vehemently denied the allegations.
Still, the uptick in tips indicates that investigators have more to look into — and they could be getting additional information from former Region 5 Director Vance Pearson, who appears ready to plead guilty Feb. 4.
Pearson, who resigned from the union in November, had new charges filed against him last week in a criminal information that marked the Justice Department's first use of the word "racketeering" to describe a pattern of abuse by senior UAW officials that reportedly includes Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, the union's most recent past presidents, although neither have been charged with a crime.