A former senior United Auto Workers, Nancy Johnson, has become the sixth person accused of taking part in a conspiracy in which both union and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. officials misused millions of dollars of training funds under the joint control of company and UAW representatives.
Johnson, 57, a former assistant director of FCA Department and a top aide to former UAW vice presidents Norwood Jewell and General Holiefield, was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with taking part in a conspiracy in which she and other senior UAW officials accepted a stream of concealed payments and things of value from FCA executives in the months leading up to the 2015 collective bargaining negotiations.
Between 2014 and 2016, Johnson held the second-most senior position in the UAW Chrysler Department. She also served as a member of the UAW National Committee that negotiated with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles during the 2015 collective bargaining sessions, according to the announcement by the DOJ.
Johnson, according to the indictment, accepted tens of thousands of dollars of designer clothing, golf resort fees, limousine services, lavish meals, luxury accommodations, luggage, and first-class travel for herself and one of her associates.
(Feds charge fifth person in FCA-UAW training fund scandal. Click Here for the story.)
“In one instance, Ms. Johnson spent $1,160 for a single pair of designer shoes, which were paid for with funds provided by FCA. On other occasions, Johnson spent $1,217 for salon and spa services, and $1,518 for a set of women’s graphite golf clubs and a diva cart bag, all using funds provided by FCA,” the indictment stated.
“As a former UAW official, Nancy Johnson chose personal greed over promoting individual leadership through her participation in a ‘pay to play’ scheme to enrich herself at the detriment of union members she represented,” said Jeffery E. Peterson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI.
“This indictment sends a clear message that the FBI, through collaboration with our law enforcement partners, will continue to aggressively investigate anyone who circumvents their legal responsibilities within the union movement at the expense of their members,” he added.
So far, three UAW and two FCA officials and Holiefield’s wife have been indicted in the probe of training center funds. The probe has uncovered more $4.5 million worth of misappropriated funds Some of the money was spent on a Ferrari and home improvements by Alfonse Iacobelli, former FCA vice president of labor relations and to pay off the mortgage Holiefield owned in Macomb County with his wife Monica Morgan.
Iacobelli, who left FCA abruptly before the 2015 negotiations, and Morgan, have already pled guilty to federal criminal charges.
(Click Here for details about an FCA analyst pleading guilty in UAW scandal.)
Officials from the UAW, which has been reeling from the scandal since it was first revealed in federal indictments last summer, said the Johnson was “removed” from her duties in the FCA department in the summer of 2016, a year before the investigation became a matter of public record.
The union has re-iterated that the scheme, which apparently set in motion by Iacobelli, never had any bear on the UAW’s negotiations with the FCA in 2015.
“The illegal misconduct alleged in (the) indictment is appalling and runs counter to the values our union has upheld for more than 80 years. Ms. Johnson was removed from the union in July 2016. There is no evidence that compromised individuals involved in this investigation, including Ms. Johnson, in any way corrupted the negotiations of the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. Every CBA goes through numerous hands, including the Presidents, the elected UAW-FCA National Negotiators and the UAW-FCA Council which is comprised of the top Local Union Leadership representing members from FCA, before being voted on and ratified by the membership,” the UAW said in a statement.
(For our initial report on the indictments, Click Here.)
The statement noted the 2015 FCA agreement was one of the richest ever negotiated as it included a clear path to traditional wages for in-progression wages and first general wage increases in nine years for traditional members as well as health care improvements made while still maintaining no premiums for all members.