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UAW president faces investigation by federal Monitor for alleged abuse of power

United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain is under investigation by a federal court-appointed watchdog tasked with monitoring the union and eliminating corruption, according to a June 10 court filing. The Monitor, Neil Barofsky, examines whether Fain abused his power as union president and accuses union leaders, including Fain, of obstructing the investigation and interfering with his access to information.

These actions may violate a 2020 consent decree between the UAW and the U.S. Department of Justice, which avoided a federal union takeover. “The Monitor has attempted for months to garner the Union’s cooperation in gathering the information needed to conduct a full investigation, but the Union has effectively slow-rolled the Monitor’s access to requested documents,” the court filing states.

Barofsky recently expanded the investigation to include additional allegations of retaliation by Fain against a union vice president. He also opened an unrelated investigation into another UAW International Executive Board member, a regional director, following allegations of potential embezzlement.

Fain responded to the filing without addressing specific issues, stating, “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, but our membership expects better and deserves better than the old business as usual. We encourage the Monitor to investigate claims brought to their office because we know what they’ll find: a UAW leadership committed to serving the membership and running a democratic union.”

The union is currently involved in a national organizing drive of nonunion automakers. The accusations come after Fain’s leadership led the UAW to secure record-setting contracts last year with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.

Barofsky’s concerns began in February when the Monitor started investigating current International Executive Board members (IEB) members, including Fain, the Secretary-Treasurer, and a Regional Director. Union leaders initiated this probe after stripping Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock of all non-constitutionally required responsibilities amid allegations of misconduct in her financial oversight role. Mock then alleged that the charges against her were false and that her authority was removed in retaliation for her reluctance to authorize certain expenditures.

The filing reveals that more than three months after the Monitor’s initial document request, the union has only provided a small portion of the potentially relevant documents. The Monitor argues that this delay in document production obstructs the investigation and potentially violates the consent decree. These potential violations could have serious ramifications for the UAW and its leadership.

The consent decree followed a years-long corruption probe into the union involving embezzlement, bribery, and other charges. The probe resulted in several convictions of union leaders and Fiat Chrysler executives, including two past UAW presidents.

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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