UAW president faces probe over alleged retaliation, obstruction of federal investigation

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain is under investigation for alleged retaliation against other union leaders, according to a Monday court filing,Reuters reported.

The union’s secretary-treasurer, Margaret Mock, was reportedly stripped of her duties for allegedly “engag[ing] in misconduct while carrying out her financial oversight responsibilities.” However, Mock claimed the accusations were false and instead insisted that Fain retaliated against her because she was reluctant to authorize “certain expenditures” from Fain’s office, the filing revealed.

‘Sometimes you have to rock the boat.’

Fain also accused Rich Boyer, the leader of the union’s Stellantis department, of “dereliction of duty” regarding a collective bargaining issue. The court filing indicated that Fain was again accused of retaliation for stripping Boyer’s duties.

Independent federal monitor Neil Barofsky opened an investigation into the allegations against Fain, Mock, and Boyer.

Barofsky claimed that Fain and other union leaders have obstructed the ongoing investigation, citing a “lapse in cooperation” after the UAW failed to produce requested documents in a timely manner. The court filing showed that the union handed over 2,600 of the estimated 116,000 relevant documents.

Fain encouraged the monitor “to investigate whatever claims are brought to their office, because we know what they’ll find: a UAW leadership committed to serving the membership, and running a democratic union.”

“Taking our union in a new direction means sometimes you have to rock the boat, and that upsets some people who want to keep the status quo,” Fain remarked.

The Department of Justice claimed that the union is “making it difficult, if not impossible, for the Monitor to fulfill his mandate to remove fraud, corruption and illegality from within the UAW.”

Barofsky was appointed federal monitor in 2021 after DOJ investigations resulted in the convictions of several former union leaders on corruption charges.

The UAW declined to comment, Reuters reported.

Earlier this year, the UAWendorsed President Joe Biden for re-election. The union also backed the administration’s“strongest-ever” vehicle emission standards and rejected claims that the restrictions would slash union jobs.

“We reject the fearmongering that says tackling the climate crisis must come at the cost of union jobs. Ambitious and achievable regulations can support both. We call on the Biden Administration to hold automakers accountable so that this rule is not used as an excuse to cut or offshore jobs,” the UAW stated in March.

Despite the union’s claims, Stellantis announced last year that it was planning layoffs partly due to “the need to manage sales of the vehicles they produce to comply with California emissions regulations that are measured on a state-by-state basis.”

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