United Auto Workers President Gary Jones is taking a paid leave of absence effective Saturday after a vote from the labor union’s executive board, according to a statement by the union.
UAW Vice President Rory Gamble will serve as interim president and will assume all responsibilities of the office. Jones did not resign from his position, his attorney told The Detroit News.
“The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future. I do not want anything to distract from the mission. I want to do what’s best for the members of this great union,” Jones said in UAW’s statement. (RELATED: FBI Raids United Automobile Workers Chief’s House, Finds ‘Wads’ Of Cash)
Prosecutors charged former UAW official Edward Robinson with conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy embezzlement of union funds for allegedly stealing upwards of $1.5 million from the labor union in almost a 10-year period. Jones has not been charged but was cited in court documents that officially charged Robinson and other UAW officials filed on Thursday in Detroit’s U.S. District Court. (RELATED: Auto Workers Strike Against GM Comes As Union Leaders Face Corruption Investigation)
The latest in the federal corruption probe ties Jones to embezzling $700,000 in member dues. (RELATED: United Auto Workers Reach Tentative Deal With General Motors After Month-Long Strike)
The charges come at a sensitive time for UAW, who has been leading strikes and negotiating contracts with Detroit automakers.