Federal prosecutors and the United Auto Workers union (UAW) have reached a tentative settlement to address wide-spread corruption issues within the organization. It’s the result of a multi-year investigation the public was first made aware of in 2017.
The agreement will allow the UAW to avoid a government takeover. Among the terms, it must accept a federal monitor who will watch the union for six years.
“This will show our members that the things we’ve done over the past 13 months were very value-adding.” – Rory Gamble, UAW President
Matthew Schneider is the US District Attorney in Detroit. He says the union can propose up to three candidates for the position.
“The United States can pick from those names,” says Schneider. “If the United States is not satisfied with any of those people we’ll request additional names, then we’ll come to an agreement and the court will appoint the monitor.”
As per the resolution, union workers will have an opportunity to change their leadership structure to a one-member, one-vote system. That would be a change from the delegate-based method currently used to pick UAW leaders.
“So there will be a referendum,” says Schneider, “as to whether or not to stay with the current system or to move to one-person, one-vote. The union member themselves will have an election — they will have a vote on that and they will decide that for themselves.”
While details of that referendum are still in the works, Schneider says a vote will be held prior to the 2022 UAW Convention.
Union President Rory Gamble says he’s pleased with the outcome.
“I welcome this consent decree,” says Gamble. “The UAW needs this consent decree and this will show our members that the things we’ve done over the past 13 months were very value-adding and necessary to clean up our union.”
Schneider says investigations into the scandal are still ongoing and charges against additional people are possible. However, he says Gamble is not one of those individuals.