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MichMan

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Feds: Fiat Chrysler VP bribed UAW execs 'to take company friendly positions'

Source: Detroit Free Press


Feds: Fiat Chrysler VP bribed UAW execs 'to take company friendly positions'

It started out as a scandal about personal greed. Fiat Chrysler and UAW executives, authorities said, were scheming together to line their own pockets.But the scheme, they now claim, had another goal: Helping the company instead of autoworkers, and bribing union officials to get that done.

In an explosive document filed Friday in the growing Fiat Chrysler-UAW scandal, the government said former Fiat Chrysler Vice President Alphons Iacobelli was bribing union officials to persuade them "to take company-friendly positions."This new allegation raises the question of whether or not the union's contract and other decisions were influenced by the wrongdoing, potentially undermining the credibility of the contract. The phrase "company friendly positions," also could relate to how the UAW handled employee grievances, plant specific issues, holiday work and overtime work schedules, training, plant organizational changes and other plant programs.The government, however, doesn't have to prove that contracts or policies were influenced to convict those charged. It only has to show that auto executives were bribing union officials -- a crime that prosecutors claim Iacobelli pulled off through various financial schemes. One of them, they said, involved giving union officials credit cards to go on shopping sprees whenever they felt like it.

The credit cards, they said,  were issued through the UAW-FCA training center, and paid for everything from designer clothes and $1,000 shoes to a Ferrari and swimming pool."Iacobelli said,  'if you see something you want, feel free to buy it. I don't have a problem if you buy it on the charge card,' " prosecutors wrote in a court filing today, adding this was part of a bigger plan to keep senior union officials  "fat, dumb and happy." The details about Iacobelli's alleged motives surfaced in a new charging document that named a fourth targeted defendant in the case. Both the UAW and FCA have previously said that the alleged FCA-UAW scam did not affect the contracts. "It is important for you to know that despite some public commentary to the contrary, the allegations in the indictment in no way call into question the collective bargaining contracts negotiated by our union during this period," UAW President Dennis Williams said last month after the first charges became public. Said Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a letter to employees last month: "This conduct had nothing whatsoever to do with the collective bargaining process."


Nevertheless, those involved were in positions to influence both contract negotiations and other decisions. Retired UAW Associate Director Virdell King, the first African-American female to be elected president of a local union in UAW-Chrysler's history, was charged Friday in U.S. District Court today with being part of a conspiracy that involved the theft of more than $4.5 million in autoworker training funds. King, 65, of Detroit, was a UAW employee who served as a senior offical in the UAW Chrysler Department from 2008 until she retired in 2016.














Read more: http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/chrysler/2017/08/19/feds-fiat-chrysler-and-uaw-execs-werevp-told-uaw-execs-if-you-see-something-you-want-feel-free-buy-i/581715001/
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