Trust in UAW strained following federal probe

The relationship between the United Auto Workers Union and its 400,000 active and 580,000 retired members, is growing strained after federal agents raided the home of Gary Jones, the president of the UAW on Wednesday.

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The FBI said it executed a search warrant at a home in Canton Township, Michigan, that is connected to Jones.

“As soon as news broke of this raid, we were receiving emails and phone calls from factory workers from all over the country who were very angry and very upset,” said Detroit Free Press autos and labor reporter Phoebe Wall Howard during an interview with FOX Business. “And so the contracts are due to expire. The factory workers are saying, these are the people we count on to advocate on our behalf. And now suspicion continues to grow.”

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Fiat Chrysler declined to comment to FOX Business on the reports. Inquiries to Ford and General Motors were not returned at the time of publication. The FBI declined to give specifics to FOX Business but confirmed "the search warrants were executed yesterday by the FBI, IRS-CID (Criminal Investigation Division) and Department of Labor - OIG" said  Special Agent Schneider.

The United Auto Workers began four-year contract negotiations with the “big three” Detroit automakers, Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, last month amid a slowdown in sales. The union's contract expires next month.

In a statement, the UAW confirmed it is cooperating with the investigation while criticizing the government for the raid.

The UAW and President Gary Jones have always fully cooperated with the government investigators in this matter. As the leader of the UAW, Pres. Jones is determined to uncover and address any and all wrongdoing, wherever it might lead. There was absolutely no need for search warrants to be used by the government today — the UAW has voluntarily responded to every request the government has made throughout the course of its investigation, produced literally hundreds of thousands of documents and other materials to the government, and most importantly, when wrongdoing has been discovered, we have taken strong action to address it. The UAW will continue to cooperate with the government in its investigation, as we have been doing throughout.
Trust in UAW leadership is never more important than during the bargaining process, when profit-laden auto companies stand to benefit from media leaks, false assumptions, and political grandstanding. The sole focus of President Jones and his team will be winning at the bargaining table for our members.

- UAW Statement