Just last week, we reported that the FBI had raided the home of UAW President Gary Jones amid an expanding probe investigating possible corruption between labor union leaders and auto industry officials. Further raids occurred in five other locations, including the home of former UAW President Dennis Williams. Now, with the United Auto Workers still grappling with ongoing negotiations between the big three Detroit automakers, the union will need to navigate through uncharted waters and growing discontent among workers.
With the FBI expanding its probe to include current UAW leaders, both sides of the table must come to grips with growing weariness and a lack of confidence in finding a common middle ground.
The ongoing corruption investigation has lasted four years thus far, with the new round of raids, including those on the current UAW president, occurring at a sensitive time during important contract negotiations between the UAW and the big automakers, including Ford.
So far, the investigations have resulted in eight convictions, including officials from both Fiat Chrysler and the UAW.
Now, things are looking even murkier, as evidenced by the mood among UAW members. Traditionally, union members vote in line with the plans set forth by UAW leadership. However, in an interview with CNBC, one UAW official, who asked to remain anonymous, described the mood among workers as “disappointed,” “angry” and distrustful of “anybody involved in the process.”
That obviously doesn’t bode well for officials looking to hammer out the details of this critical new contract. What’s more, it also increases the possibility for a strike, as union leaders ramp up their negotiation tactics in a show of strength to prove to UAW members that they are pursuing the best contract possible.
The current UAW contracts are set to expire September 14th, but it’s possible that deadline will be moved to a later date as both sides reevaluate the situation.