Back in May of last year we wrote an update story about a scandal that had enveloped the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union in Detroit with relation to a scheme to misappropriate funds from FIAT Chrysler (FCA) and the Government. It was focused on a training centre and several union officials and FCA finance employees were caught flashing the cash. Millions of dollars were spread through a community rather than go to retrain workers.
At that time – nearly a year ago, an ex Vice President of the Union was implicated however not charged. Norbert Jewell had been the guest of honour at a lavish party just prior to wage negotiations that turned out to be not good for the workers – and great for FCA! When the scandal broke in the media he suddenly resigned and tried to distance himself from the issues.
Now, almost a year later, he has been charged – in relation to goods and services to the tune of around $40,000 that he received from people representing FCA during those wage negotiations. He was also accused of misusing tens of thousands of dollars that should have been used by the training centre for the workers benefit. He is apparently attempting to negotiate a “fair and just” resolution to his problems.
One concern that he must have is that many of his co-conspirators have ended up doing time in jail and it is likely that he will have to find the cash and probably also be shut away for a year or two. The UAW has now distanced itself from the officials involved and FCA has removed the managers that were engaged in the embezzlement.
The current UAW agreement with the Big Three in Detroit expires in a few months and tidying up this issue is good and bad. On the negative side, it applies a level of distrust between the manufacturers and the union, however on the positive side, it should be good for the workers who missed out during the last round of negotiations and hopefully will be able to benefit from more education and training to help them in their careers.