UAW President under investigation for retaliation tactics with other leaders

Credit: UAW

An independent federal monitor has opened an investigation into United Automotive Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain, citing allegations of retaliation against other leaders at the union.

In a filing dated June 10, federal court-appointed monitor Neil Barofsky said he opened an investigation into Fain in February, after the union’s secretary-treasurer alleged that the UAW President had been retaliatory when certain expenditures were not approved for his office (via Automotive News). In addition to that probe, Barofsky expanded the inquiry to include statements made against the union’s Stellantis division last fall, as well as an additional investigation into the secretary-treasurer.

In the 36-page filing, Barofsky also writes about the union’s attempts to stonewall federal authorities and avoid giving them access to necessary documentation. The monitor says that the UAW has provided just 2,600 or so documents to Barofsky out of a pool of roughly 116,000 requested documents.

The Department of Justice writes in the filing that the “union’s position is making it difficult, if not impossible, for the Monitor to fulfill his mandate to remove fraud, corruption and illegality from within the UAW.”

At the time of writing, the UAW has not responded to Teslarati’s request for comment.

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Barofsky was appointed as an independent monitor by federal courts in 2021, after former presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams were both sentenced to prison as the culmination of a multi-year corruption investigation.

Jones was sentenced to 28 months in prison, Williams to 21, both for taking part in a $1.5 million embezzlement scheme in which they used union funds for luxurious vacations, alcohol, golf outings, and more. A total of 15 union leaders were charged as part of the investigation, and the scandal has resulted in decreased public trust for the union, which is the nation’s largest labor organization in the automotive industry.

In addition to following the scandal, the investigation comes amidst a larger union campaign against 13 non-unionized automakers with facilities in the U.S., including Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and more. Volkswagen workers at a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, recently voted to acknowledge the UAW, while those at a Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last month voted against unionizing.

It also follows the UAW’s six-week strikes lodged against Ford, General Motors (GM), and Dodge-Chrysler parent Stellantis last year, ultimately resulting in renewed contracts with record wage increases for workers.

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UAW President under investigation for retaliation tactics with other leaders
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