DETROIT – A Labor Day tradition promoting solidarity drew protests from UAW workers amid a wave of scandals.
Thousands of union workers gathered Monday in Downtown Detroit, as they've done for decades to celebrate organized labor. This year, amid a wide-ranging federal investigation of the United Auto Workers and its leadership, some workers at the parade were fed up.
Along with the many millwrights, teamsters and pipe fitters, there was no shortage of UAW presence at the parade.
President Gary Jones marched, but he avoided Local 4 cameras. He didn't want to answer questions after members of the FBI and IRS raided his Canton Township home last week as part of a corruption investigation.
The scene angered Brian Keller, a UAW member who led a protest in the parade.
"We feel we have a right to speak out against the corruption in our union," Keller said.
Eight UAW staffers, including former Fiat Chrysler Vice President Norwood Jewel, are convicted of wrongdoing. Jewel is heading to prison.
Keller wants to see leadership acknowledge what's going on.
"Gary Jones and Cindy Estrada and the rest of his caucus should step aside until after the negotiations," Keller said.
Brian Rothenberg, the UAW spokesperson, said Jones is cooperating with federal authorities and wasn't affected by the protests.
"Gary's elected by the members," Rothenberg said. "He's a man of the people. This Labor Day -- it's a time to celebrate, time for all of us to recognize the hard work everybody's doing -- UAW members. We've got these negotiations coming up."