UAW to audit financial procedures following announcement of ethics reforms

The UAW Secretary-Treasurer is planning a series of audits and changes to the union's financial procedures, following reforms that were announced by the acting president of the UAW last month.

The ethics reforms come on the heels of an FBI probe that has engulfed the union in a wide-ranging corruption probe, which has led to more than a dozen charges of UAW top brass.

"The UAW is committed to putting in place checks and balances and accounting reforms that prevent financial malfeasance," said Ray Curry, secretary-treasurer at the union. "This top-to-bottom assessment of our financial and accounting procedures and policies will result in a stronger and more stringent financial oversight of all expenditures and financial transactions. 

In mid-November, Rory Gambles, who took over the leadership position at the union following the resignation of then-President Gary Jones, announced a series of UAW reforms, including creating an ethics officer position, an ethics ombudsman, new policies that would enhance enforcement against those misusing funds and the banning of all charitable contributions from UAW agencies.

Curry's announcement follows a process that began last spring as part of a reform initiative of the UAW. They include hiring more auditors, increased accounting regulation, and an assessment of all procedures that have to do with its regional offices, police action committees, its golf course and northern Michigan retreat at the Black Lake Education Center.

People can expect a preliminary report with recommendations on those assessments by early January in 2020. 

While he hasn't been charged, Jones did resign his affiliation last week after holding a membership since 1975. His tenure at the UAW concluded amid reports that General Motors was suing Fiat-Chrysler and former brass with the UAW, alleging of a bribery scheme meant to benefit the Italian-owned automaker. 

Among other names cited in court documents is Vance Pearson, a regional UAW leader.

The charges allege union money numbering in the millions had been embezzled and spent on lavish goods including golf equipment and cigars.