(Bloomberg) -- The head of the United Auto Workers and the U.S. Attorney rooting out corruption at the union may turn to an independent monitor to make sure one of the nation’s largest labor organizations cleans up its act.
UAW President Rory Gamble and U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, who has prosecuted labor leaders and auto executives in a widening corruption case, discussed the concept of outside oversight in their first meeting aimed at reforming the union, according to a UAW statement Tuesday. A monitor could provide further assurance to members that changes being made are concrete, the union said.
“It is a historic moment,” Harley Shaiken, a professor of labor economics at the University of California at Berkeley, said by phone. “The union has been through real traumas given the turbulence in the industry and given the impact of globalization, and the corruption scandals could not have come at a worse time.”
Schneider told Bloomberg News in March that the Justice Department had found systemic corruption in the course of the years-long criminal investigation he has led in Detroit. Early this month, Gary Jones, Gamble’s predecessor as UAW chief, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and racketeering. He was the 14th defendant to be convicted in a sweeping U.S. probe into embezzlement and illegal payoffs to union executives by officials of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
Gamble and Schneider agreed there are a number of reform options that will be the subject of further negotiations when they meet again in the coming weeks, the UAW said. They are considering whether third-party oversight of any future agreement would be helpful, according to the union.
Schneider had publicly criticized the UAW prior to his meeting with Gamble for failing to cooperate with the government and said that federal oversight was a possibility. In February, government overseers stepped aside from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters after helping manage that union for more than 30 years.
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