Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the United Auto Workers union have been named co-conspirators by federal prosecutors in the ongoing corruption case surrounding the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, The Detroit News reports. This breaks with the previous narrative that maintained both parties were victims of a few bad actors at both the automaker and the union.
The case grew out of an investigation into the misappropriation of millions of dollars from the coffers of the training center – a center that “oversees joint programs that improve job skills, enhance competitiveness and enrich the personal lives of UAW-represented [FCA] workers,” according to its website. Numerous higher-ups from FCA and the UAW have been charged with criminal activity over allegations that center funds were used to buy concessions with collective bargaining agreements, and so far, six have been convicted.
“From in or before 2009 through 2015, FCA executives conspired with one another, with FCA, with officials at the UAW, and with the UAW, to violate the Labor Management Relations Act,” prosecutors wrote in a federal court plea agreement. According to a former federal prosecutor, the allegations could open up FCA and the UAW to criminal charges, fines, and government oversight, although so far, neither FCA nor the UAW has been charged.
The United Auto Workers union is currently undergoing its four-year constitutional convention, with 3,000 delegates and union members gathered together for the proceedings, and to elect new officers to fill roles left vacant by sudden retirements. Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell, who led the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler division from mid-2014, retired abruptly in December of last year after he was implicated in the scandal for unknowingly accepting a gift bought with training center funds. He reportedly paid for the gift after learning how it was purchased, and has not been charged by prosecutors.