“The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future,” Jones said in a statement distributed by the union. “I do not want anything to distract from the mission.”
Jones recently led the UAW in an intense, six-week-long strike that saw production shut down at General Motors. Part of an uptick in strike participation across the country, it was the longest strike at the automaker since 1973 — and one of the largest private employee stoppages in recent decades.
The strike ended last week after the union agreed to a new contract with GM that included raises, guarantees to bring some temporary employees on permanently and a more robust wage schedule to shrink the gap between new hires and longtime employees.
The federal investigation has been widening. Vance Pearson, the head of a 17-state region for the UAW, was placed on leave in October after being charged with embezzling union money, wire fraud and money laundering. Investigators said Pearson conspired with other union officials to conceal personal expenses that were paid for with union money at UAW conferences.
On Thursday, Edward “Nick” Robinson, 72, Jones’s aide and the president of a regional UAW council, was charged with conspiracy to embezzle union funds and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Authorities allege that he was involved in embezzling more than $1.5 million in members’ dues, with the money instead going to private villas, cigars, meals and golf, according to the Detroit News.
Court filings in that case refer anonymously to other union officials involved in wrongdoing who have yet to be formally identified as UAW Official A and UAW Official B.
Jones, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, has been at the helm of the union since June 2018. His lawyer, J. Bruce Maffeo, did not immediately return requests for comment.