by Scott McClallen
Former United Auto Worker (UAW) President Gary Jones pleaded guilty this week to embezzling more than $1 million in dues money from members, as well as charges of racketeering and tax evasion.
Over eight years, top UAW officials sought reimbursements for what they claimed were conference-related expenses in California and Missouri but were personal expenses.
Jones and other top officials spent over $750,000 of UAW funds to pay for personal luxuries, including golf clubs and fees, private villas, and top shelf liquor and meals.
“For example, in just one of the years of the conspiracy, Jones used UAW money to purchase over $13,000 in cigars for the use of high-level UAW officials,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
Jones is facing a recommended sentence of up to 57 months in prison because of his plea deal and cooperation with authorities.
He’s the 14th person convicted in the ongoing UAW corruption investigation. The combined sentences of the nine people who have been sentenced so far totals 180 months in prison, according to the DOJ.
Current UAW President Rory Gamble promised accountability and transparency in the future.
“Their actions were selfish, immoral, and against everything we stand for as a Union,” he said in a statement.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said the guilty pleas advanced the DOJ’s investigation.
“While our criminal cases and the investigation of criminal conduct by individuals and entities continue, we will shift our focus to reforming the UAW so it serves the working men and women of the union first and foremost,” Schneider said in a statement. “I look forward to meeting with UAW President Rory Gamble as soon as possible to have these important discussions.”
U.S. Department of Labor District Director Thomas Murray said the plea exposed “that the corruption within the UAW International Union extended all the way to the top office.”
“Instead of fulfilling his sacred fiduciary duty to his fellow union members, Jones chose to betray their trust and embezzle over a million dollars from the UAW for himself and other high-ranking UAW officers,” Murray said in a statement.
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix said that the corruption was rooted in compulsion.
“Federal law gives union bosses the power to force workers under their so-called ‘representation’ against their will, and in states without Right to Work protections to force them to subsidize their activities or else be fired,” Mix told The Center Square in an email.
Mix alleged the UAW endorsed presumptive presidential candidate Joe Biden, the former vice president, in return for him expanding union power and revoking right-to-work laws in 27 states.
“Joe Biden and other forced dues proponents ought to explain why they believe tens of thousands of workers in non-Right to Work states should have been fired had they sought to cut off the forced dues being paid to Gary Jones’ corrupt UAW,” he wrote.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gary Jones” by UAW.