Amidst one of its largest strikes in more than a decade, UAW president Gary Jones has been missing in action.
When unions engage in high-profile battles, such as the one the United Auto Workers is engaged with at General Motors, very often, union leaders are very visible on picket lines and in the press.
However, as the UAW’s nationwide strike against General Motors ends its fourth day, the union’s President, Gary Jones, has been conspicuously absent, as the Los Angeles Times notes.
In fact, Jones has been keeping a very low profile ever since his home was raided several weeks ago amid the federal government’s ongoing corruption investigation into the UAW’s finances.
The LA Times notes that, when Jones was hand-picked by his predecessor (retiring UAW president Dennis Williams) during a closed-door meeting at a Detroit casino, few knew who Gary Jones was.
When he took the reins of the UAW upon Williams’ retirement, though, the former accountant was seen as the antidote to the public relations nightmare the UAW was facing due to the multi-year bribery and kick-back probe the UAW was embroiled in.
Upon his coronation as UAW president, Jones suggested the press was to blame for the pad PR the UAW was getting from the corruption scandal.
At the time, Jones insisted the UAW corruption involved only a few “bad apples.”
That was then.
Now, Jones stands accused of “using union members’ dues to finance a ‘lavish lifestyle’ that included long stays in luxury lodgings, golf outings and steak dinners with champagne and cigars, according to the government,” explains the LA Times.
Following the arrest of UAW Region 5 Director Vance Pearson—a former top aide to Jones—both Jones and Williams have been implicated as “co-conspirators” in the government’s investigation….and Gary Jones, the union’s president during the UAW’s largest strike in a decade, has dropped out of sight.
Since the UAW members have been on the picket lines, Jones has not conducted one press conference.
Instead those duties have fallen onto Terry Dittes, a UAW vice president, who has become the face of the UAW during its strike.
As long as Jones remains president of the UAW, reports the Detroit News, the more it appears he is becoming liability to the UAW.