Former UAW vice president charged in U.S. corruption probe
(Adds Fiat Chrysler comment, UAW comment, changes headline)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors in Detroit
on Monday charged a former high-ranking United Auto Workers
official in charge of the labor union's relations with Fiat
Chrysler (FCA) of misusing funds for lavish purchases
for himself and other union officials.
Norwood Jewell, who headed the UAW's FCA department from
2014 until his retirement in January 2018, was charged with
conspiracy to violate labor laws and accepting improper payments
in a criminal information - often a precursor to a plea
Jewell is the highest-ranking former UAW official charged so
far in a wide-ranging investigation into illegal payoffs to UAW
officials. To date, seven people have been sentenced in the
government's ongoing corruption investigation.
The court document says Jewell used a National Training
Center credit card and approved UAW officials to use their
credit cars to make over $40,000 in purchases for himself and
Prosecutors say FCA officials conspired to divert over $4.5
million in training center funds intended to pay for training
for union members for use by UAW officials.
A lawyer for Jewell did not immediately comment.
The UAW said in a statement it was "deeply saddened" by the
court filing, adding it has "implemented many reforms and
enacted new policies to prevent any misuse of funds... we will
continue to vigilantly review our practices to make sure any lax
financial controls are identified and fixed going forward."
FCA said Monday it "firmly restates that it was a victim of
illegal conduct by certain rogue individuals." The company said
those individuals' actions were "neither at the direction nor
for the benefit of the company" and had no impact on collective
The fresh charges come at a sensitive time for the UAW,
which is gearing up for contract talks later this year with FCA,
General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. The union has
tried repeatedly to move beyond the scandal, insisting that the
misuse of funds involved just a few people.
The National Training Center is a separate entity from the
UAW that receives no union dues.
Prosecutors said Jewell was "responsible for administering
and negotiating the collective bargaining agreements" on behalf
of tens of thousands of UAW members.
A criminal information is a charging document typically
filed before a defendant pleads guilty. A spokeswoman for the
U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit said no date for an
arraignment or plea has been set.
Last year, Alphons Iacobelli, a former FCA vice president of
employee relations, was sentenced to more than five years in
prison for making at least $1.5 million in improper payments to
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Nick Carey)
First Published: 2019-03-18 16:46:10
Updated 2019-03-18 19:42:46
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