Ethics Reforms Update
Dear UAW Brothers and Sisters:
I want to share some updates with you today on our Ethics Reforms. Since November of 2019, our union has taken many significant steps forward in moving past this dark chapter in our history and rebuilding trust with UAW members. I have said from my first days in this office that I would be transparent and share all that we are doing on behalf of this great union of ours to move our union forward.
We stated when we began this process that the International Union would seek to recover any misused funds or monies owed to the union. I have been very clear about this and, along with the IEB, have worked to aggressively pursue restitution. I am pleased to tell you that restitution orders have been entered by the United States District Court in Detroit against former UAW personnel who have been convicted of crimes, requiring them to repay the UAW for misused funds. By way of example, an order of restitution to the UAW in the amount of $300,000 was issued by the court against former UAW member Nick Robinson. More restitution orders are being sought against others who betrayed this union and their members, including Gary Jones and Vance Pearson.
In the matter of former president Dennis Williams, the International Union recently received $132,000 as restitution of union funds he misused for personal lodging, golf, meals and liquor. We are currently in discussion with lawyers who represent former UAW vice president Norwood Jewell and former UAW presidents Dennis Williams and Gary Jones and their insurers concerning repayment to the UAW of legal fees previously expended by the union on their behalf. When we have a resolution or conclusion to those matters, I will report that information to you.
Also, the sale of Cabin #4 at Black Lake Conference Center is proceeding, and we anticipate the closing of that transaction within the next month or so.
Since 2019, the UAW has proactively weeded out individuals who put their personal interests above our members’ interests and who abused their positions of trust to defraud our union and our membership, with those individuals being investigated and charged internally by the UAW, permanently expelled from the union and, in several cases, criminally prosecuted.
I am very proud of what we have accomplished together to ensure that crimes like this can never happen again. We have engaged nationally recognized financial and compliance experts to assist us in a top-to-bottom review of our financial, accounting and ethical policies and controls. We are implementing deep changes to strengthen those systems at every level.
Last March, we established an Ethics Hotline to provide a confidential system for members to submit any concerns they have about misconduct. We hired an independent Ethics Officer and retained a third-party compliance firm dedicated to investigating allegations of financial or ethical misconduct. In February, we announced the establishment of the Member Advisory Committee on Ethics. The members of this committee are rank-and-file active UAW members who were selected through a blind draw by our Ethics Officer.
Finally, we entered into an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office last December that provides for the appointment of an Independent Monitor who, for a period of time, will provide an extra and independent set of eyes on our union’s financial and disciplinary processes and provide complete assurance to our members that the reforms we have initiated take permanent root. We anticipate the federal judge overseeing the agreement will appoint the Independent Monitor later this month.
We have done this together – and together we will move forward for our members, our union and all working women and men in this great nation of ours.
Rory L. Gamble