It has been a tough few months for several United Auto Workers union leaders, to say the least.
Former UAW President Gary Jones and a top aide have been accused of conspiring to embezzle more than $700,000 in member dues and splitting the money. Also, criminal charges have been filed against Edward “Nick” Robinson of St. Louis, president of a regional UAW community action program council conspiring to embezzle union funds and conspiracy to defraud the federal government.
Jones announced last week he would resign his membership in the UAW, having already been removed as the union’s leader.
Associated Industries of Missouri backed a bill that would have allowed union members to decide whether they should support their union with their dues. The “right to work” legislation, after it was passed by the legislature, was referred to voters following a successful signature campaign led by union officials. Union leaders convinced union members the measure would weaken the union. AIM and other business groups argued the proposal would give members a stronger voice in the operation of their unions.
Voters ultimately rejected the “right to work” proposal by a wide margin.
“It would have been very interesting to see if this type of corruption could be prevented if union members would have had the stronger voice that would have been provided by the right to work bill,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “We believe it would have required union leaders to work harder for their members’ support. Perhaps if union leaders had to prove their value, they would spend more time representing their members interests and less time on vacation at their members’ expense,” he said.