DETROIT – A federal judge approved Friday a consent decree in which an independent monitor will watch over the United Auto Workers’ finances and operations for the next six years.
According to court documents, “the Court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of this consent decree through Jan. 12. 2027.” However, it can be extended.
“The Court has reviewed the record of the proceedings and the terms of the proposed consent decree and finds that the settlement represents a fair, adequate, and reasonable agreement to resolve substantial claims for civil liability premised on the same fraudulent conduct for which various individuals already have been criminally convicted,” read the order granting approval of the decree. “The terms of the settlement include significant financial sanctions for the harm caused and provisions that should deter the repetition of similar conduct.”
The UAW now has 30 days to propose three qualified candidates as the monitor. Court documents states that if none of the candidates are considered to be qualified, “the United States reserves the right to seek additional nominations from the UAW. The parties will endeavor to complete the monitor selection process within 60 days of the initial proposal of candidates by the UAW.”
Additionally, the UAW must propose an adjudications officer no later than 30 days after the independent monitor is appointed. Within six months of when the monitor is appointed, union members will decide by secret ballots whether they will vote directly to pick the union’s future leaders.
Some roles given to the independent monitor include the authority “to remove fraud, corruption, illegal behavior, dishonesty, and unethical practices from the UAW and its constituent entities.”
The adjudications officer has the authority “of the UAW International President and IEB to impose discipline up to and including expulsion from membership in the UAW and its constituent entities when a member has engaged in actions or inactions” such as violation of the decree, violation of any criminal law involving the establishment of operation of a labor organization, employee benefit plan, labor management cooperation committee or voluntary employee beneficiary association, or “further the direct or indirect influence of any barred person, or the threat of such influence now or in the future, as set out in this decree.”
Fifteen people, including former UAW presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, were charged in an investigation of the senior ranks of the venerable labor union, revealing crooked ties between officials and executives at Fiat Chrysler and luxuries rarely enjoyed by the UAW’s blue-collar members whose dues were squandered.
Williams plead guilty in September. He was accused of conspiring with others to cover up the source of cash for lavish meals, cigars and large expenses.
Jones plead guilty back in June to one count of conspiring to embezzle UAW dues money and conspiring to use a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering crimes between 2010 and September 2019.
Former UAW Regional Director Vance Pearson plead guilty in early 2020 in the conspiracy to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars from the UAW.
Union members met with federal prosecutors in June as a first step to bring reform to the union.
“Today’s (June 30) discussion was productive and both the U.S. Attorney and I have the same goal for the UAW International Union. As we turn the page to a stronger, better and cleaner union, we continue to make critical decisions that will protect the sacred dues money of our members. I look forward to continued discussions in the near future that advance toward closing one dark chapter and opening new brighter chapters for members of the UAW,” President Rory Gamble said at the time.