UAW bolsters financial controls after scandal

The United Auto Workers union has replaced its auditing firm, added four internal auditors and has hired a big accounting firm to study its financial controls in an effort to prevent embezzlement and bribery discovered in a federal probe of the union.

The moves announced Monday by Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry come after last month’s resignation of President Gary Jones, who has been implicated in the scandal. Several other union officials have been charged or implicated in the probe, which embarrassed the union leadership and angered many of its 400,000 members when it became public starting in 2017.

Curry says the reforms will put checks and balances in place to prevent financial misconduct.

The scandal exposed weak financial controls at the union, which allowed a bribery scandal involving Fiat Chrysler’s joint training center with the union.

Also exposed were the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the purchase of 58,000 watches for union members by the UAW-General Motors training center and an embezzlement scheme at a regional office in St. Louis involving the purchase of thousands of dollars of expensive cigars and alcohol, golf greens fees and rental of swanky villas for union leaders. Funds allegedly were falsely represented as regional conference expenses.

The federal probe brought an unprecedented federal lawsuit from General Motors last month against Fiat Chrysler, alleging the company bribed union officials to get lower labor costs than GM.

— Associated Press


FCC chairman calls for T-Band auction delay

The chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday joined several Democratic senators in urging the cancellation of an auction of wireless spectrum used by U.S. law enforcement agencies because of the costs and difficulty of moving them to alternatives.

Congress in 2012 ordered the sale by 2021 of the T-Band wireless spectrum used by police and firefighters in major U.S. cities, as well as refineries and utilities, as part of a tax bill.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday that the agency “has extensively analyzed the T-Band and concluded that moving forward is not viable — relocation costs for public safety licensees would likely far exceed any potential auction revenue, making it impossible to fund the relocation.”

Democratic Sens. Edward J. Markey (Mass.), Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.) introduced legislation Oct. 30 to rescind the auction. In the absence of action by Congress, the FCC said Monday that it would suspend processing of T-Band license applications as it moves forward to begin an auction by 2021.

— Reuters

Also in Business

Facebook started testing a tool on Monday that lets users move their images more easily to other online services, as it faces pressure from regulators to loosen its grip on data. The social network's new tool will allow people to transfer their photos and videos directly to competing platforms, starting with Google Photos. The company said it will first be available to people in Ireland. It is expected to be available worldwide in 2020.

Billionaire Richard Branson said he's scrapping the planned sale of a stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways in favor of retaining control and expanding the airline he founded. Branson has reached a deal to abandon a two-year-old plan to sell part of the airline to Air France-KLM Group, he said in a letter to staff posted on his personal blog Monday.

Coming today

Automakers release vehicle sales for November.

— From news services