As previously covered by this blog, the U.S. Justice Department has thus far indicted two former UAW officials and two former Chrysler officials in an embezzlement scandal involving the joint UAW-Chrysler training center. Now two classes of Chrysler workers have filed civil lawsuits against both the UAW and Chrysler’s parent, FCA US LLC based on those indictments. The lawsuits claim that former UAW Vice President General Holiefield and his team accepted bribes from Chrysler to take company-friendly bargaining positions at the expense of UAW members.
One class action alleges that UAW VP Holiefield and his subordinates negotiated away seniority rights and better retirement and health benefits in a scheme concerning jobs in the Jeep Wrangler plant’s paint shop. Sheets, et al. v. FCA US LLC, et al., No. 3:18-cv-00085 (N.D. Ohio Jan. 11, 2018). The other class action alleges that, during these same negotiations, the UAW and Chrysler agreed to “retire” over 70 employees of the same paint shop to create job openings. The complaint further alleges that certain UAW officials developed a lucrative side business of selling these open positions. DeShetler, Jr., et al. v. FCA US LLC, et al. No. 3:18-cv-00078 (N.D. Ohio Jan. 11, 2018). The lawsuits claim that both the UAW and Chrysler violated the federal Labor Management Relations Act in this bribery scheme.
There could be a wave of such lawsuits by any Chrysler worker who was somehow disadvantaged in the recent UAW-Chrysler bargaining agreements.