Per a report from POLITICO Pro, Republicans on the House Education and Labor Committee are urging their Democratic colleagues to hold a public hearing on the federal embezzlement probe into leaders of the United Auto Workers.
n a letter to Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) requested that the committee call a hearing to “confront the widespread, brazen lawbreaking by union leaders who purport to represent nearly 150,000 American autoworkers but have betrayed their trust in favor of self-enrichment.”
Last week three UAW leaders were implicated in a federal embezzlement investigation.
The Detroit News reported that UAW President Gary Jones and former president Dennis Williams were two unnamed officials accused in an indictment of helping orchestrate yearslong embezzlement of training center funds.
Separately, authorities arrested a member of the union’s executive board, Vance Pearson, on money laundering and fraud charges in connection with the same scheme.
The training-center scandal has sent eight people to prison so far, including high-level UAW officials accused of accepting bribes aimed at making them more pliable in bargaining. Former Vice President Norwood Jewell was sentenced to 15 months behind bars in August for using training-center funds to pay for rounds of golf and tickets to Disney World and other theme parks, among other lavish purchases.
The Republicans argue in the letter that discussing the probe publicly is “particularly important” because Democrats on the committee have introduced legislation that would broadly overhaul federal labor laws.
Democrat’s “Protecting the Right to Organize Act,” introduced earlier this year would strengthen collective bargaining rights and increase penalties to employers when they violate labor laws.
Provisions in the bill would allow employers and unions to agree contractually to the collection of such fees to help cover the cost of collective bargaining. It would also grant workers a private right of action, allowing them to bypass the NLRB and take lawsuits alleging violations of the NLRA directly to court.
Foxx and Walberg say the legislation is aimed at “significantly increasing the coercive power of labor leaders and decreasing their accountability, risking similar episodes of corruption and wrongdoing in the future.”
The Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the legislation earlier this year, but it has not yet been scheduled for a committee markup.
Concerns over the UAW probe come as thousands of workers represented by the union have walked off the job at General Motors plants nationwide. The automaker and the union have been unable to reach an agreement on a new four-year contract.