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UAW implements what it calls widespread ethics reforms in wake of scandal


United Auto Workers Acting President Rory Gamble has announced the implementation of "widespread ethics reforms." The move comes in the midst of a widening FBI investigation that has uncovered a pattern of corruption among union leaders.

In a statement, Gamble says, "As the acting president, I'm committed to putting in place the right mechanisms to safeguard our union, regaining the trust of our members, and ensuring the misconduct that has recently come to light will never happen again.

The FBI has charged eight former union officials with federal crimes, including fraud, money laundering, and bribery. Six have pleaded guilty.

The FBI also raided the homes of UAW President Gary Jones and former President Dennis Williams, although neither have been charged with crimes yet. Jones is on paid leave.

The reforms include:

- A new Ethics Ombudsman to receive, review and respond to ethics complaints.

- An Ethics Officer outside the union with the power to investigate ethics allegations referred to them by the ombudsman or the union's executive board.

- A new policy to "enhance enforcement" against those found guilty of misusing funds and a committment to seeking recovery of those funds.

- Stricter monetary controls that increase oversight by the UAW Accounting Department.

- Banning charitable contributions from UAW Joint Program centers, vendors, or employers to any charities run or controlled by UAW officials. 

(The UAW runs work training centers in cooperation with Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler; some of the federal charges involve misusing those funds for personal gain by union officials.)

- New accountability measures overseeing the Joint Programs, including audits by independent public accounting firms.

- An anonymous ethics hotline to encourage those who may have concerns about potential ethics violations. 

Additionally, Cabin Four and its related property at the UAW’s Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center will be put up for sale.

Cabin Four is the lakefront Cheboygan home the union built for former UAW President Dennis Williams.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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