Detroit (PAI) — In a major development that avoids a federal takeover, the United Auto Workers reached agreement with the U.S. attorney in Detroit over moves to clean up the wide-ranging financial scandal that tarred the historic union.
The settlement imposes a federal monitor on the UAW for up to six years, and the investigation will continue at GM and FiatChrysler, whose execs bribed past UAW leaders, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider announced in a joint Dec. 14 press conference with union President Rory Gamble. The probe is now complete at the union.
Gamble said the UAW board “embraced” the monitor and “hopes to make his job a boring one” thanks to new internal ethical and financial controls, including its own independent financial officer, put in place since he took over.
And in another big move for accountability, both said union members will vote in a secret-ballot referendum—details and timing to be announced before the next scheduled officers’ election in 2022—on whether UAW should elect its top leaders by direct one-person one-vote balloting union-wide.
If UAW’s members agree to that, the union would be one of the few to elect its officers by direct balloting, rather than by locals’ delegates at a convention. The others include The News Guild-CWA, the Teamsters, the Letter Carriers and the Laborers.
“Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the court would appoint an Independent Monitor who would have the authority to exercise disciplinary powers within the UAW, to investigate possible fraud or corruption within the union, and to seek discipline against UAW officers and members before a UAW Trial Committee, or before an Independent Adjudications Officer also appointed by the court.”
The monitor would leave bargaining and day-to-day operations in the hands of the UAW board.