Gary Jones, the president of the UAW who took a leave of absence earlier this month, abruptly resigned Wednesday after the union’s executive board moved to remove him from that job and expel him from the union. Jones has been tied to a corruption scandal that has led 13 people to be criminally charged—but not (yet) Jones himself.
The news of Jones’ resignation came through his lawyer, Bruce Maffeo. Via The Detroit News:
“After much discussion with his family and friends, Gary has elected to resign his position as UAW president and retire effective immediately,” Jones’ lawyer, Bruce Maffeo, told The News on Wednesday.
“His decision to do so was reached before learning of the internal charges filed earlier today by the UAW and was based on his belief that his continuing to serve will only distract the union from its core mission to improve the lives of its members and their families.”
His lawyer also gave this statement to a TV reporter:
Jones had been president since June 2018, taking office several months after the federal investigation into the union began. Prosecutors and law enforcement have described activity at the union as an embezzlement scheme, with union funds paying for extravagant luxuries. (Many in terrible taste.)
Jones has not been charged, but his home was raided in August, when some golf clubs and $30,000 in cash were seized. Jones resignation came after he and another UAW official, Vance Pearson, were charged by the union’s executive board.
The UAW’s partial statement on those charges:
The Article 30 charges, signed by the entire International Executive Board, assert that Gary Jones and Vance Pearson directed the submission of false, misleading and inaccurate expense records to the UAW Accounting Department and further concealed the true information concerning those expenses, in violation of the UAW’s Ethical Practices Code and applicable federal labor laws.
“This is a somber day, but our UAW Constitution has provided the necessary tools to deal with these charges,” said UAW Acting President Rory Gamble. “We are committed at the UAW to take all necessary steps including continuing to implement ethics reforms and greater financial controls to prevent these type of charges from ever happening again.”
Jones’ resignation was not wholly unexpected but the timing of it was somewhat, with the news breaking within an hour or so of the union issuing its statement about the Article 30 charges. Jones had campaigned for the elected job on a clean-slate agenda.
America’s autoworkers deserve better than the UAW.