Another United Auto Workers ex-official has pleaded guilty in the growing corruption scandal as nearly 50,000 union members continue their strike against General Motors.
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Jeffery Pietrzyk, 74, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering on Tuesday, The Detroit Free Press reported.
Pietrzyk is a former top aide to former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton. Pietrzyk, a New York native, was charged by federal prosecutors with receiving $123,000 during a bribery and kickback conspiracy that defrauded union workers.
"I apologize," he told The Free Press when confronted about his hand in the corruption coming to light as thousands of autoworkers strike for better conditions.
Pietrzyk pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ashton and former UAW leader Mike Grimes to receive millions in kickbacks and bribes from union vendors who received rigged contracts to produce union-branded watches, jackets and backpacks, according to the court filing.
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"For example, in 2011, Pietrzyk and two other UAW officials demanded that a vendor give them a $300,000 kickback on a $6 million contract to purchase 50,000 jackets emblazoned with 'Team UAW-GM.' One UAW official collected the $300,000 kickback and delivered the proceeds to Pietrzyk, who in turn delivered the money to another UAW official," the U.S. Attorney's Office wrote, according to The Free Press.
Prosecutors claim that the alleged conspiracy lasted over a decade, from 2006 until July 2018.
Pietrzyk is a former co-director of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, which would close under the tentative agreement negotiated the union and GM last week.
Prosecutors allege that Pietrzyk received more than $100,000 during the alleged conspiracy. Nearly a dozen people have been formally charged in a corruption scandal that has implicated the top levels of the UAW, including President Gary Jones and former President Dennis Williams.
“The criminal conduct Jeff Pietrzyk has admitted is appalling and goes against everything we stand for as a union," UAW told FOX Business. "The UAW leadership is committed to acting in the best interest of its members and will continue to focus on achieving the best contracts possible for our members in the coming weeks."
FOX Business' Jason Schott contributed to this report.