UAW President Gary Jones resigns under fire
Gary Jones, now resigned UAW president. | UAW

DETROIT—Auto Workers President Gary Jones resigned Nov. 19, just before his executive board pushed him out of both his office and the union.

Jones took a paid leave of absence from UAW’s top job several weeks ago, as allegations swirled around him. The board decided it had a real problem on its hands.

The board charged Jones and one other UAW official, Vince Pearson, with violating Article 30 of the union constitution, basically by covering up financial misdeeds. Jones quit the next day. Pearson succeeded Jones as chief of the union’s Kansas City-based Region 5.

The bribery scandal at the union already resulted in federal indictments of 12 present or former UAW officers, plus the widow of one of them, before Jones and Pearson became enmeshed in it. It also led FBI agents, armed with a search warrant, to raid Jones’ home in the Detroit suburbs several months ago.

And so many FiatChrysler executives were involved in bribing UAW officials in past years that the day before Jones quit, GM sued FiatChrysler for racketeering.

Jones strenuously denies wrongdoing, and the U.S. attorney for Detroit and the surrounding area has not charged him with any crime, yet. The board’s statement before he quit made clear they disagree with Jones’s claim.

“The Article 30 charges, signed by the entire… board, assert that Gary Jones and Vance Pearson directed the submission of false, misleading and inaccurate expense records to the UAW Accounting Department and further concealed the true information concerning those expenses, in violation of the UAW’s Ethical Practices Code and applicable federal labor laws,” the board’s statement said.

Conviction on the constitutional charges would lead to Jones’ expulsion from UAW, the board added.

“This is a somber day, but our UAW Constitution has provided the necessary tools to deal with these charges,” said Acting President Rory Gamble. “We are committed at the UAW to take all necessary steps including continuing to implement ethics reforms and greater financial controls to prevent these type of charges from ever happening again.”

Reaction among rank-and-file UAW members was mixed, at  least as shown by facebook replies to the union’s announcement.

Local 259 President Brian Schneck wrote “Local 259 is proud to have joined a coalition of UAW locals that have been organizing to bring an Article 30 charge against Jones. Today, Local 259 was encouraged that the IEB (board) acted in filing an Article 30 against Jones and Pearson. Further, Local 259 was delighted to learn Jones realized he would not survive the Article 30 process and immediately resigned. However, Local 259 and the coalition of locals will not be satisfied until the Article 30 process is carried out and Jones is stripped of his membership forever!”

Still another respondent noted the push to oust Jones came from the bottom-up, meaning rank-and-file members.

UAW member Marni Beutler said the board shouldn’t stop with Jones. “They need to do it to the others…there are still lots more that need to be in prison,” she wrote.


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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