‘We have a very anti-union federal government that’s very much out to get them as much as they can…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A four-year investigation into racketeering and corruption involving the United Auto Workers labor union and Fiat Chrysler reached new levels Wednesday with raids on the residences of top UAW officials.
Among the five homes and offices raided Wednesday were those of current UAW President Gary Johnson and prior President Dennis Williams.
The probe, which already has netted eight convictions, may result in the federal government assuming oversight of the country’s sixth-largest union, The Detroit News reported.
“This is the nuclear option,” former federal prosecutor Peter Henning, now a Wayne State University law professor, told the paper.
Such a move would likely indicate criminal culpability for the Michigan-based union with deep ties to Democratic politicians including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings.
In the 2018 election cycle alone, it spent roughly $4 million on contributions to Democratic candidates and political-action committees, as well as another $4 million in lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Not surprisingly, noted the Media Research Center, two of the three major network news broadcasts completely ignored the story. Although CBS included it in Wednesday’s coverage, neither ABC nor NBC reported on it.
Meanwhile, some liberals went so far as to appear to rally behind the allegedly corrupt union and blame the investigators.
“Federal oversight completely and profoundly changes the direction of the union,” UC-Berkeley economist Harley Shaiken told The Detroit News. “The fact that it is even being discussed is disturbing news. One would need to see evidence of sustained institutional malfunction.”
Arthur Wheaton, an automotive industry specialist at Cornell University, doubted it would reach the level of a government takeover but said the raids showed that the Justice Department meant business..
“We have a very anti-union federal government that’s very much out to get them as much as they can,” Wheaton said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they really tried to take it to them.”
The case resembles one brought against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in the 1980s that resulted in 25 years of oversight after U.S. Attorneys charged that the union had a “devil’s pact” with the Mafia.
Although the government monitoring was fazed out starting in 2015, it resulted in the removal of more than 200 officials—including 50 chapter presidents—and more than 600 disciplinary charges.
Henning said the move to an oversight consent agreement likely meant the current leadership of the union was refusing to cooperate and that removal was the only option.
“Maybe the U.S. Attorney’s Office feels it has reached a dead-end and they’re not getting cooperation, that they’re getting stonewalled,” he told The Detroit News. “A trustee or monitor could come in and open up the books and make them available to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”