U.S. investigation into UAW training center funds expands to GM, Ford

by SpeedLux
General Motors

General Motors and Ford Motor confirmed they are cooperating with a broadened Justice Department investigation into supposed misspending at United Automobile Workers union training centers funded by U.S. automakers.

The investigation became public in July, when federal prosecutors alleged a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV vice president of making $1.2 million in inappropriate payments to a former union vice president and his wife. Four individuals have been charged in the Fiat Chrysler investigation.

Prosecutors issued subpoenas about training centers funded by General Motors and Ford and said investigators are taking a look at charities run by senior union authorities at the companies.

“We are cooperating with the inquiry,” stated Kelli Felker, Ford spokesperson.

General Motors is carrying out an internal investigation into the matter. “We are fully cooperating with the investigation,” GM spokesperson Pat Morrissey stated.

The National Training Center (NTC) is a separate entity from the UAW that gets no union charges, however the supposed abuses “dishonored the union and the values we have upheld for over 80 years,” the union stated in July.

Ford included that it is “confident in the UAW-Ford National Programs Center leadership group.”

The probe into union leaders and executives at Fiat Chrysler has led to charges against the company’s former vice president of worker relations, Alphons Iacobelli. He was charged with making $1.2 million in inappropriate payments to a former union vice president and his wife. Iacobelli has not pleaded guilty.

The government likewise charged that Jerome Durden, a former Fiat Chrysler official, conspired to divert over $4.5 million in training center funds meant to pay for training for union members. Durden pleaded guilty on August 8 to conspiracy and preparing incorrect tax returns and faces up to 37 months in prison under a plea deal.

Virdell King, 65, of Detroit, a former UAW official responsible for working out the contract between Fiat Chrysler and the union, pleaded guilty in August to breaching labor law.

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