FBI UAW chief raid provokes 'suspicion' as bribery probe expands

United Auto Workers (UAW) members are furious after their boss’s house was raided by federal agents on Wednesday, according to Detroit Free Press autos and labor reporter Phoebe Wall Howard.

Continue Reading Below

Their existing four-year contract that is negotiated with Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler (the "big three"), is set to expire at midnight on Sept. 14. The current president, Gary Jones, oversees negotiations, which include health care, pensions, retirement, sexual harassment protection and wages.

But Howard said UAW workers are losing trust as the bribery probe expands.

“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,” she told FOX Business’ Dagen McDowell on Thursday. “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.”

On the other hand, Howard also noted that the automakers' decision to remain silent after the raid was an example of “tremendous discomfort on all sides of this.”

“Obviously they want calm in this situation. When the automakers can talk with one voice representing workers, it's more efficient, and it moves more smoothly,” she said, adding that “150,000 workers are affected.”

The big three automakers and UAW workers are preparing for a strike in case a deal isn't reached.

UAW workers are preparing to live on $250 a week, she said, by stocking food pantries and collecting perishables and toiletries across the U.S.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

In addition, she said, there are members of the UAW who are “heavily” represented by the University of Washington, The University of California, New York University and Boston College, who are eyeing the matter.

“In fact, colleges are the fastest growing membership for the UAW. So their dues are actually involved here. They're watching this very closely. This is a Detroit story, but it is affecting members all over the United States,” she said.