Refusing to resign while under investigation, United Auto Workers President Gary Jones is taking a paid leave—which means UAW members will keep paying his salary…for now.
Despite the fact that he has been referenced in (at least) two indictments of corrupt union officials, Gary Jones has not resigned as the president of the United Auto Workers.
The move comes nearly three months after Jones’ house—and that of his predecessor, Dennis Williams—was raided by the FBI, and less than two months after a former top-Jones aide was charged with embezzlement from UAW coffers.
However, as of Saturday, Jones has taken a paid leave, the Detroit News reports.
United Auto Workers President Gary Jones stepped aside Saturday, 16 months into a rocky tenure leading one of the nation’s largest and most powerful labor unions — a union beset by corruption and accusations he helped steal $2.2 million from blue-collar workers.
Jones did not resign as president of the union, his attorney, Bruce Maffeo, told The Detroit News. Jones is taking paid leave from a post that pays more than $200,000. Effective Sunday, Vice President Rory Gamble, head of the union’s Ford Department, will serve as interim president and become the UAW’s first African American president in the union’s 84-year history.
Under agreement with the UAW, according to a source familiar with the situation, Jones would be obligated to reimburse the union for pay received while on leave should he be convicted in connection with the federal corruption investigation. His decision to step aside came two days after The News identified Jones as the unnamed “UAW Official A” accused by prosecutors of conspiring with a top aide to steal as much as $700,000 in member dues.
“Jones could help the union more by resigning than by going on leave and continuing to take pay,” Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, told the Detroit News.
“Positioning the step-aside as being Jones’ request instead of the union’s demand makes it look as if he still is in control,” Gordon stated. “The union may have reacted too late and too weakly to credibly claim that it values integrity in its top leaders.”