From the outside looking in, everything seems like business as usual at the United Auto Workers as rank-and-file members start voting Monday on a proposed four-year contract with Ford.
But this will be the union's first deal with one of the Detroit Three automakers without president Gary Jones since he took the helm in 2018. Jones began a leave of absence on Sunday amid an escalating federal corruption probe into the UAW, one of the country's most powerful unions.
|F||FORD MOTOR CO.||13.78||+0.07||+0.51%|
|GM||GENERAL MOTORS CO.||52.23||+0.31||+0.60%|
"The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future," Jones said in a statement. "I do not want anything to distract from the mission. I want to do what's best for the members of this great union."
The labor group has been plagued by allegations of embezzlement amid high-stakes negotiations with General Motors and Ford. In August, agents from the FBI, IRS and Labor Department raided Jones' home, gathering evidence in their probe.
Jones has not been charged with any crimes. Last week, prosecutors charged one of his top associates, Edward "Nick" Robinson, with conspiracy to embezzle union funds and conspiracy to defraud the U.S., making him the twelfth person charged in the investigation.
UAW vice president Rory Gamble, who led the team that negotiated a new labor deal with Ford, will serve as acting president in the interim. Rank-and-file voting on the Ford agreement will end on Nov. 15.
"This contract provides over $6 billion in new product investment creating and retaining over 8,500 jobs. We are proud that UAW-Ford members through this contract will continue to be the largest U.S. auto workforce and build the most products here at home," Gamble said in a statement. "This contract reflects the hard work, sacrifice and quality work of UAW members as they lead the U.S. auto industry."
Ford's contract ratification seems to be going smoothly compared to negotiations with GM. The UAW finalized a four-year labor contract with GM in October, ending the historic 40-day strike that brought the U.S. auto giant's supply chain to a halt.
Also on Sunday, Mack Trucks and the UAW secured a four-year contract agreement after more than 3,500 employees in three states went on strike in mid-October.
FOX Business' Megan Henney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.