The UAW continued its separation from its recent dark past by beginning the process of expelling eight former executives from the union.
Subject the union’s Article 31 charges, the former executives were caught up in the federal government’s criminal investigation of its past financial dealings, led by Norwood Jewell, former vice president and head of the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler department, and former vice president Joe Ashton, who once served as the UAW’s representative on General Motors’ Board of Directors.
The other six include former UAW International Representatives Edward “Nick” Robinson, Nancy Johnson, Jeffrey Pietrzyk, Michael Grimes, Keith Mickens, and Virdell King.
The Article 31 charges were signed unanimously by the union’s International Executive Board. they assert that the officers and staff engaged in serious misconduct in violation of the law and the Ethical Practices Code of the UAW Constitution.
Former UAW President Gary Jones and his aide Vance Jones were expelled in November as part of a similar issue. Current President Rory Gamble has been pushing to make substantive changes in the union’s policies to prevent a repeat of the financial mismanagement that happened.
Part of that movement is Gamble’s push change the culture of the union involves cutting out the offenders from the union permanently.
“Any UAW member who uses their position to break the law or blatantly violates the sacred oath they took to faithfully serve our members will be subject to removal from their post and expulsion from our union,” Gamble said in a statement.
“My administration, and the entire Executive Board, will continue to hold accountable those who commit criminal conduct or serious violations of our Ethical Practices Code. And we will continue to aggressively implement the critical reforms necessary to strengthen our union’s financial controls, oversight, and overall accounting system to ensure the type of conduct described in these charges will not reoccur.”
Jewell recently began a 15-month sentence in Wisconsin for violations of the federal Labor Management Act.
Jewell, 62, was sentenced to a prison term last August after he pleaded guilty to the charges. He is the first top union officer to go to prison in the scandal that has overtaken the union in the past two years.
He admitted to violating federal law while serving as head of the union’s UAW Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Department, adding he had been misled by the staff he had inherited from General Holiefield, his predecessor as UAW vice president, who died before he could be charged with corruption.
Meanwhile, Ashton faces up to 37 months in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty in early December to federal criminal charges. Sentencing is March 3.