Insights for the Labor Relations Professional


Will the federal government take over the UAW?

By Allen Kinzer

The scandal involving former UAW officials and Chrysler executives has expanded. The U.S. Justice Department has now labeled the UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) as co-conspirators in the bribery and corruption scandal. Now, the UAW faces possible criminal fines and potential federal government oversight of its finances.

So far, the federal investigation has resulted in the indictment of seven former UAW officials and Chrysler executives and six criminal convictions. Both the UAW and Chrysler had stated that the corruption was the result of a few rogue employees. But, on June 12, the U.S. Justice Department formally named both the UAW and FCA as co-conspirators to violate the federal prohibitions against an employer paying off union officials and union officials from accepting those payments.

The allegations involve millions of dollars of payments from FCA to UAW officials in charge of negotiating Chrysler’s union contracts. The payments were allegedly made through a jointly administered UAW-FCA worker training center. Based on the indictments, the allegations now span over six years, from 2009 to 2015, and cover the terms of three UAW Presidents, Ron Gettelfinger, Bob King, and soon-to-retire Dennis Williams.

In Ohio, the UAW faces two class action lawsuits that UAW officials accepted bribes from Chrysler to take company-friendly bargaining positions at the expense of UAW workers.

Meanwhile the federal investigation continues and has expanded to the joint UAW-GM Center for Human Resources.


Insights for the Labor Relations Professional