United Auto Workers accuse union president of false accounting

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: United Auto Workers President Gary Jones in a file photo taken in July 2019.© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: United Auto Workers President Gary Jones in a file photo taken in July 2019.

By Nick Carey

DETROIT (Reuters) – The United Auto Workers (UAW) said on Wednesday it has filed charges under its bylaws against its president, accusing him of “false, misleading and inaccurate expense records” and saying those charges could lead to his removal from his elected office and expulsion from the union.

The UAW said it had filed charges under Article 30 of its constitution against Gary Jones, who has been linked to an ongoing corruption probe by U.S. federal officials.

Earlier this month the union said Jones was taking a paid leave of absence.

An attorney for Jones, J. Bruce Maffeo, could not immediately be reached to comment.

The union also filed similar charges against UAW board member Vance Pearson, who was charged in September with conspiring to embezzle union funds.

An attorney for Pearson, N. Scott Rosenblum, did not immediately comment on Wednesday.

“This is a somber day, but our UAW Constitution has provided the necessary tools to deal with these charges,” acting UAW president Rory Gamble said in a statement. “We are committed at the UAW to take all necessary steps including continuing to implement ethics reforms and greater financial controls to prevent these type of charges from ever happening again.”

Since taking over as the union’s acting president, Gamble has announced a series of ethics reforms to clean up the UAW.

To date, 10 people have pleaded guilty in connection with the criminal investigation into illegal payoffs.

Earlier this month, former UAW vice president and former General Motors Co (N:) board member Joseph Ashton was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud.

The probe has also involved a number of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (MI:) (N:) executives.

Earlier on Wednesday GM filed a racketeering lawsuit against FCA, alleging that its rival bribed United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials over many years to corrupt the bargaining process and gain advantages, costing GM billions of dollars.

The lawsuit comes at a delicate time for FCA, which is working on a planned merger with French automaker PSA (PA:) and is negotiating a four-year labor contract with the UAW.

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