(WXYZ) — United Auto Workers Acting President Rory Gamble has announced a series of ethics reforms in the wake of a federal investigation that has led to charges among some of the union's senior leadership.
“When the United Auto Workers union was created more than 84 years ago, it was built on the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; that together we are stronger than any one person alone. And this is still true today,” said Gamble in a news release. “As the acting president, I’m committed to putting in place the right mechanisms to safeguard our union, regaining the trust of our members, and ensuring the misconduct that has recently come to light will never happen again. That is why I am ordering immediate actions that will lay the foundation for a more transparent, more accountable, and more responsible future for our union.”
“This is just the beginning,” he added. “But it’s a beginning that will set us on the right path for the future. As a member of this union for nearly 40 years, I am committed to the mission of this union in bringing prosperity and dignity to millions of American workers and creating and maintaining this country’s middle class. I am committed to seeing our union succeed and thrive. And to do that we must and will take real, concrete action that leads to substantive and lasting change.”
Among the reforms announced are:
- The establishment of an Ethics Ombudsman to receive, review and respond to ethics complaints and allegations.
- The creation of the position of Ethics Officer who will not be an employee of the International Union, but rather an external position with the power to investigate allegations, complaints or matters referred to them by the Ethics Ombudsman or the IEB. The UAW is beginning a national search for an Ethics Officer effective immediately.
- The introduction of a new policy that will enhance enforcement against those who have been found guilty of misusing funds and our commitment to seek recovery of all misused or misappropriated funds.
- The implementation of stringent monetary controls that increase oversight by the UAW Accounting Department.
- The banning of all charitable contributions from UAW joint program centers, vendors, or employers to any charities run or controlled by UAW officials.
- The enactment of accountability measures to the Joint Programs, including that purchases of promotional items using joint program funds have been permanently banned and all expenditures will be controlled, monitored, and regularly audited by independent public accounting firms.
- Finally, UAW will set up an Ethics Hotline to encourage those who may have concerns about or want to report potential ethics violations. The hotline will provide members and employees the ability to anonymously and confidentially submit allegations or complaints about potential violations of the UAW’s Ethical Code and other relevant policies.
The UAW also announced that a number of properties at the center of the scandal will be put up for sale.
The federal government has been investigating fraud and misuse of funds at the UAW for more than two years.
This has led President Gary Jones to take a paid leave of absence.
Jones has not been charged. But in a court filing, federal prosecutors alleged that seven top UAW officials conspired since 2010 to embezzle funds through schemes such as submitting false vouchers for conference expenses.