The UAW corruption case that has led to 15 convictions and a UAW deal with prosecutors is still around, but winding down as federal prosecutors have largely gotten what they wanted in terms of the big fish. As punishment for its role, the company formerly known as FCA was ordered to pay millions in fines on Tuesday, and also must have compliance monitor for the next three years. Prosecutors, meanwhile, said in court that this might be the biggest case in the history of the Taft-Hartley Act.
The money quote, via the Detroit Free Press:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Shaw told Judge Paul Borman during the sentencing in Detroit via Zoom that the company’s guilty plea to a felony is significant because many corporate cases end in deferred prosecutions. In fact, the severity of this case might be unmatched, she said, noting that the company employs tens of thousands of workers in the United States and sells millions of vehicles under the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram nameplates.
“We’ve been informed by our colleagues at the Department of Labor in Washington that this case marks one of the largest violations of the Taft-Hartley Act in United States history, if not the largest,” Shaw said, referencing a law governing union and company activities. “The criminal conduct by FCA and its executives has significantly undermined the confidence and trust that the men and women working in the plants and on the assembly lines hold in their leaders. These crimes have also undermined the workers’ trust in the integrity of the collective bargaining process.”
FCA was ordered to pay $30 million, which is not that much for a company that makes billions, and I’m sure that FCA — now, of course, part of Stellantis — will find the compliance monitor a pain in the ass, but, as the prosecutor noted in her remarks, a company pleading guilty and admitting wrongdoing is not something you might normally see in cases like this, such was the weakness of FCA’s position. (You can read the full plea agreement — including all the stuff FCA admitted to — at the bottom of this post.)
And as this sordid episode slowly draws to a conclusion, it’s worth noting that the culpability in this case is diffused, and that the UAW still exists and represents almost a half-million workers who to this day reap the benefits of collectively bargained contracts — the entire point of organizing, period. Bad actors amongst us or not, keep your eyes on the prize.