UPDATE 1-Current, past UAW leaders implicated in spreading corruption probe

DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – United Auto Workers (UAW) President Gary Jones and his predecessor are unnamed officials listed in a federal criminal complaint detailing alleged corruption and embezzlement by union leaders, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday. The complaint was released on Thursday, just two days before the UAW’s contracts with Detroit’s automakers General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) expire on Sept. 14, raising questions about the status of ongoing contract talks. The complaint detailed charges against Jones’ former second in command and successor as head of the UAW’s “Region 5” Vance Pearson. It also referred frequently to several unnamed figures, in particular “Official A,” who is Jones and “Official B,” his predecessor Dennis Williams, the source said. The union had targeted GM as the first automaker with whom it wanted to conclude contract talks. This year’s talks were widely expected to be contentious, focusing on thorny issues like healthcare costs and profit-sharing at a time when U.S. new vehicle sales are declining. But according to sources briefed on the matter, the searing complaint throws into question whether talks will continue between GM and the UAW ahead of the Saturday deadline. Two people briefed on the matter say GM may ask for a temporary extension of the contract and could pursue other options including seeking assistance from a third party. It was not clear if the talks will continue with the current UAW president under investigation. The news concerning the identities of the union officials in the federal complaint was originally reported by the Detroit News. Neither Jones nor Williams have been charged with any wrongdoing. The UAW did not make any comment on the report implicating Jones and Williams. The union had hoped to put the growing federal probe behind it by electing Jones, a former regional director for the union, as president in 2018. However, Thursday’s arrest implicated the second in command in the region Jones ran. Jones was chosen as he seemed far removed from the scandal. But two weeks ago, the FBI raided Jones’s home, a union retreat and multiple other locations as part of the corruption probe. The federal complaint filed on Thursday said government agents had seized $30,000 in cash from the residence of Official A. An attorney for Jones could not be reached for comment on Friday.

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