Accusations of corruption against the leadership dome of the United Auto Workers (UAW), a majority in the automobile sector in the United States, have shaken the organization at a critical moment in which it negotiates collective agreements with the Detroit Big Three.
The workers of the main Ford production centers in the United States will begin voting on Monday to approve or reject the agreement negotiated in recent days between the company and the union for the signing of a new collective agreement.
The agreement, which establishes salary increases, bonuses and investments of Ford in the US, follows the general lines of the collective agreement ratified on October 25 by General Motors (GM) workers after 50 days on strike, the longest in the leading American car manufacturer in 50 years.
Once the new collective agreement, with a duration of four years, is ratified, the UAW negotiators will begin talks with the directors of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) to reach a similar agreement that regulates the relations of the US-US company with your workers
THE THREE BIG
This strategy of first negotiating the collective agreement of one of the so-called Detroit Big Three to serve as a model for the conversations with the other two companies, has continued to work for decades in the almighty UAW union, the majority in the sector of the United States car.
But this year, negotiations with the Big Three occur when UAW's leadership leadership is shaken by accusations of corruption that have forced its president, Gary Jones, to request a leave of absence while other union officials have been charged by the authorities. federal
After an investigation that lasts more than a year, the United States Department of Justice has charged Vance Pearson, a senior union leader, with appropriation of money, illicit association and money laundering.
According to US authorities, Pearson agreed with other union leaders to appropriate money that should have been allocated to training courses and workshops for UAW members, to pay for personal expenses.
Last Wednesday it was learned that the former UAW vice president and former GM board member Joe Ashton is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.
Ashton left UAW in 2014 and in 2017 left the GM board of directors.
And at the beginning of November, Edward Robinson, personal assistant to the president of UAW, was charged for his involvement in a fraud to take over 1.5 million dollars of union membership fees.
Jones left the UAW presidency on November 2, after hearing the accusation against Robinson. Although Jones has not been formally charged, his home was registered in August this year by the FBI and the investigation suggests that he participated with Robinson in the appropriation of $ 700,000 of union membership dues.
The UAW leader said in a statement that he had decided to leave his post so that his situation would not affect the union when "he is fighting with nails and teeth to ensure that his affiliates have a better future," a reference to the negotiations of the agreements groups with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.
For his part, the new acting president of UAW, Rory Gamble, acknowledged that the alleged crimes committed by the union's leadership "have disenchanted and provoked the anger of many" and added that he will not excuse or tolerate "inappropriate actions."
In recent days, Gamble has told the media that he will investigate to ensure the union is clean. But many UAW members have begun to question aloud the confidence that the union inspires them, which can affect the approval of the agreements with the Detroit Big Three.
Julio César Rivas
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