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Gary Jones, ex-UAW president, gets reduced 28-month prison sentence

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

However, prosecutors asked for a lesser sentence — 28 months — than guidelines called for because of Jones' cooperation, which they said had led to the conviction of another former UAW president, Dennis Williams, and a settlement between the government and the union. The settlement calls for an independent monitor, likely to cost "millions of dollars" paid for with dues money and the chance for union members to decide whether their top leaders will be picked via direct election or through the current delegate process at conventions.

Williams was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

In a letter to Borman, Jones had asked for forgiveness, saying he knew he was wrong in his actions but that they were a continuation of practices that began before he became director of UAW Region 5, a position he held before he became president in 2018.

"I have asked my lord and savior Jesus Christ for forgiveness and have received this mercy. I have asked the UAW membership for their forgiveness and will ask again and again whenever the opportunity presents itself, please forgive me," Jones wrote.

Jones had pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to embezzle union funds and to use a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering activity and tax evasion. Previous court filings, where Jones was listed as UAW Official A, accused him of offering to "take care of" a relative of another defendant with a sham job if he would take the rap for part of the embezzlement.

The government's sentencing memo said Jones is responsible for a fraud loss of between $550,000 and $1.5 million. According to a defense memo, "Jones first joined the union in 1975, one year after graduating high school, and worked on the assembly line at the Ford glass plant in Tulsa."

In his letter to Borman, Jones said he was proud of the contract negotiated with GM, but expressed some disappointment.

 

"We had hoped to save the Lordstown plant and obtain something for our retirees, but GM would not budge," he wrote.

Although the criminal case against the UAW has wrapped up, the government has indicated that others remain under investigation. Fifteen people, including former top UAW leaders and FCA executives, have been convicted to date. Only Vance Pearson, another former union leader, remains to be sentenced. The case against Jeff Pietrzyk, another union official, was dismissed because he died in April.

FCA has pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and has agreed to pay $30 million and submit to an independent monitor. The corporation is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

The UAW issued a statement after Jones was sentenced, noting its efforts to restore "the full faith and trust of the UAW’s more than 400,000 members across the country."

"Former UAW Member and President Gary Jones’ sentencing today brings to a close a very dark chapter in UAW history. Jones clearly put his personal and self-interest above that of the members of his union and has been stripped of his membership in the UAW. These serious crimes violated his oath of UAW officers and they violated the trust of UAW officers charged with handling our members’ sacred dues money as well as community action funds," the union said.

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