The intersection 07/24/22 | Automotive News

For UAW, the more things change…

Much has changed since UAW officials from factories and offices across the country last met in Detroit for a constitutional convention four years ago.

The president they elected almost unanimously at that convention, Gary Jones – who promised a “clean slate” to get the union past a federal corruption scandal – ended up in jail , just like his predecessor, Dennis Williams.

The UAW narrowly avoided federal takeover by reaching a deal that puts it under the watch of a court-appointed comptroller for six years.

And rank-and-file members have approved a referendum that gives them the power to vote directly for the union’s next leaders. This means that the decision to keep current President Ray Curry in office for another four years will not depend on who attends the constitutional convention this week; members to whom they report next weekend will be able to make that choice.

But one thing that sadly hasn’t changed since the June 2018 rally is that the UAW remains shrouded in a cloud of scandal. A report by federal observer Neil Barofsky days before the convention suggested the union had obstructed and interfered with efforts to root out corruption, as journalist Michael Martinez explained in a front-page story this week. Automotive News.

Barofsky said he now has 19 different investigations underway into potentially shady dealings within the UAW and that senior officials only began cooperating after they resurrected the prospect of a federal takeover for violation of the union’s consent decree.

Like four years ago, this week will no doubt be a question of cleaning up the union and getting rid of the so-called bad apples that sully its name. Let’s hope the people who make those promises stick with it this time. And that they don’t turn out to be bad apples themselves.

Nick Bunley

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