DETROIT — UAW President Rory Gamble and U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider will meet June 30 to discuss reforms as the union attempts to avoid a federal takeover amid a years-long corruption probe.
In a joint press release Monday, the two sides said they will talk in Detroit about putting into place "mechanisms and protections to eliminate corruption and to ensure that it does not return."
Since taking over late last year for ex-President Gary Jones, who earlier this month pleaded guilty to embezzlement and racketeering charges, Gamble has instituted a number of financial and ethics reforms in an attempt to clean up the UAW from within. Schneider has publicly downplayed the efforts, saying they don't go far enough.
He wants the union to consider direct election of officers, among other examples of "solid, significant reform." He told Automotive News earlier this month the election changes could be accomplished through a court order but stopped short of saying his office would seek one.
"I look forward to working with President Gamble to achieve what I hope will be a joint effort to resolve some of the serious issues that the UAW has faced over the past several years," Schneider said in the statement. "The UAW's membership deserves our concerted push to bring about significant and important reforms."
Gamble, in the statement, said the meeting was another step in the work he has undertaken.
"I look forward to discussing with U.S. Attorney Schneider the many reforms we have already put in place and furthering our efforts on other ongoing reforms for the UAW and our members," Gamble said. "I firmly believe we both have the same goal. As I have said from day one as president, my intent is to hand over to my successor a stronger, more effective and cleaner union that UAW members will be proud of for generations to come, and I very much look forward to meeting with Mr. Schneider."
The threat of a federal takeover looms over the talks, should Schneider's office file charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
To date, 14 people have pleaded guilty to corruption charges, including Jones, two former UAW vice presidents and the former top labor negotiator at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Another former UAW president, Dennis Williams, reportedly has been implicated although he has not been charged with a crime.
Schneider said this month that a federal takeover of the union "absolutely" remains a possibility, although he'd like to hear how Gamble plans to further reform the union before making a decision.
"It's always better to do things amicably," he said. "It's always better to do things to avoid litigation. That's why we want to sit and talk. If we can avoid litigation, we should."