UAW Holds Labor Day Rally, But Future of Union Is Uncertain

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Members of the United Auto Workers held a Labor Day rally in Detroit Monday, but they reportedly did so feeling anxious about other events that could affect their organization.

This, according to The Detroit News.

As The Michigan Star previously reported, the organization’s former Vice President Joe Ashton was the unnamed union official in a federal criminal complaint who is accused of demanding $550,000 in kickbacks and bribes from vendors.

The complaint, unsealed Wednesday, charges former UAW official Mike Grimes with wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering, the newspaper said.

Norwood Jewell, the former Vice President of the UAW and the highest official in the UAW’s Chrysler Department, was sentenced to prison Aug. 5 based on his conviction for accepting bribes from high-level executives of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Most recently, The Detroit News reported the sprawling investigation led federal agents to search the homes of UAW President Gary Jones and former President Dennis Williams last week.

“As they marched Monday, some union members expressed anxieties about the investigation. Labor talks were going to be difficult even without an ongoing federal probe. The union wants more plant investment with new products for U.S. plants, higher pay, and retention of or improved health care benefits and profit sharing. Automakers, on the other hand, want to cut back on labor costs to align with what foreign automakers spend to build cars in the United States.”

The current contract, the Detroit paper noted, expires after 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14;

Despite the increased scrutiny by investigators, the paper reported Jones walked in the first part of the annual parade before he left for another commitment.

But there were detractors.

“A contingent of about 20 UAW workers calling for reform was organized by Brian Keller, an employee at Fiat Chrysler’s Sherwood distribution center for Mopar parts in Warren. Keller unsuccessfully ran against Jones for the union presidency in 2018,” The Detroit News said.

Keller reportedly said he wants a special convention for new leadership to be voted under one-member, one-vote standards — instead of the use of delegates.

In June, The Tennessee Star reported that the UAW has had at least one other setback.

Workers at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. rejected the UAW by a vote of 833 to 776.

In that fight, as reported, a grassroots group of Volkswagen Chattanooga workers who oppose the UAW spoke out against the union’s efforts to set up shop at their factory.

One of the primary people fighting for the UAW to set up shop at Volkswagen Chattanooga reportedly had to settle a slander suit for his part in a nasty mudslinging campaign in Michigan.

Joe DiSano, a Michigan political consultant, heads up the Center for VW Facts. DiSano reportedly accused VW of waging a “deceptive campaign to discourage employees” from becoming the first UAW plant in the right-to-work state.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.
Photos “UAW Labor Day Rally” by UAW.

 

 

 

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