New UAW president named amid burgeoning US corruption probe
The United Auto Workers officially installed its acting chief as union president on Thursday as the big American labor organization works to avert a government takeover due to a corruption scandal.
Rory Gamble will serve as UAW president through the union's next constitutional convention in June of 2022, the UAW said.
Gamble became acting president on November 3 following the leave of absence taken by Gary Jones, who has since resigned as president due to the scandal.
"There are difficult decisions that will need to be made in the coming months for our members," said Gamble, the UAW's first African-American president.
"But I promise one thing, when I retire and turn over this office, we will deliver a clean union on solid footing."
As the UAW has negotiated with the Big 3 Detroit automakers this fall, there have been a steady stream of indictments and guilty pleas in the long-running scandal, which involves charges union officials and some auto executives enriched themselves in a bribery and kickback scheme connected to a fund intended for worker training.
On Wednesday, a former UAW vice president Joseph Ashton, who also served on the board of General Motors, pleaded guilty to taking $250,000 in bribes and kickbacks.
As acting chief, Gamble has pushed the union executive board to adopt a series of ethics reforms, including appointing an outside chief ethics office, an internal ombudsman, a claw-back provision to recover misspent money, new financial controls including auditing and identifying and implementing stronger financial management practices.
But US Attorney Matthew Schneider, who heads the Detroit office overseeing the UAW probe, told The Detroit News earlier this week that he was unimpressed with UAW reforms thus far.
Schneider said government oversight of the union was a possible solution, adding that the Justice Department needs "significant reforms."
The UAW rebutted the comments, saying it was "disappointing" that Schneider "does not yet recognize the UAW's sincere efforts at reform."
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