UAW president Gary Jones resigns as union prepares to oust him

Associated Press

DETROIT — United Auto Workers President Gary Jones has resigned, effective immediately, his attorney says.

The move comes shortly after the union’s international executive board filed paperwork to oust Jones and regional director Vance Pearson.

Both men have been implicated in a wide-ranging federal bribery and embezzlement scandal at the union. Pearson has been charged, but Jones has not.

Attorney Bruce Maffeo in New York says Jones made the decision to step down before learning of the move to oust him. Maffeo says he did so to let the union focus on its core mission of improving the lives of members and their families.

The UAW said on Wednesday it had filed charges under its bylaws against Jones, accusing him of "false, misleading and inaccurate expense records" and saying those charges could lead to his removal from his elected office and expulsion from the union.

Earlier this month the union said Jones was taking a paid leave of absence.

The union also filed similar charges against UAW board member Pearson, who faces federal charges of conspiring to embezzle union funds.

An attorney for Pearson, N. Scott Rosenblum, did not immediately comment on Wednesday.

"This is a somber day, but our UAW Constitution has provided the necessary tools to deal with these charges," acting UAW president Rory Gamble said in a statement. "We are committed at the UAW to take all necessary steps including continuing to implement ethics reforms and greater financial controls to prevent these type of charges from ever happening again."

Since taking over as the union's acting president, Gamble has announced a series of ethics reforms to clean up the UAW.

To date, 10 people have pleaded guilty in connection with the criminal investigation into illegal payoffs.

Earlier this month, former UAW vice president and former General Motors board member Joseph Ashton was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud.

The probe has also involved a number of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives.

Earlier on Wednesday GM filed a racketeering lawsuit against FCA, alleging that its rival bribed United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials over many years to corrupt the bargaining process and gain advantages, costing GM billions of dollars.

The lawsuit comes at a delicate time for FCA, which is working on a planned merger with French automaker PSA <PEUP.PA> and is negotiating a four-year labor contract with the UAW.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.