The U. S. Attorney in Detroit, Matthew Schneider, is saying enough is enough after former United Autoworkers President Joe Ashton was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
“This is the 16th defendant in this case. And it’s really sad,” he said.
The perp walks have been plenty. Not one of the 16 has chosen to go to trial in Federal Court. Everyone has pleaded guilty.
Last September the feds raided the homes of former UAW Presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. Both are awaiting their sentencing.
With the cloud hanging over his head, Jones led his union through a long General Motors strike last year then resigned under the gun.
The new UAW President Rory Gamble said from the beginning they will implement their own internal union controls to prevent future corruption. At that point, the theft of union dues and job training funds was into the millions.
“I’m here to restore integrity,” President Gamble told 7 Action News in November of 2019.
The unconvinced feds turned up the heat on the need for oversight just as they had with the mob-infested Teamsters union two generations ago. In June the new UAW sheriff in town made his own trip downtown inside an SUV driving into the secure garage of the Federal building to face the feds’ music while avoiding the media. The private talks have been ongoing.
Schneider tells 7 Action News, “This is an important case for our office and for the region and quite frankly for the United States. It’s the largest most powerful union. There are members all over the country and the globe. And they want their leadership to be restored as well.”
Make no mistake, the feds are in the driver’s seat. One demand they have is one member one vote, direct elections of union officials.
“Our goal is an agreement with the UAW. If they want to agree with us, then I believe we can resolve this amicably. If they don’t then, of course, that would result in legal action.”
The deadline is the end of the year. A new U. S. Attorney will come in under the Joe Biden administration.