Detroit News: Marick Masters on selection process for ex-UAW President Gary Jones

Federal prosecutors Thursday charged former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones with embezzling more than $1.5 million, according to a criminal filing that indicates he will plead guilty and cooperate with an investigation that could lead to the government seizing control of one of the nation's most powerful unions. Jones is the highest-ranking UAW official charged during a years-long crackdown on corruption within the U.S. auto industry that has produced 13 convictions and revealed labor leaders and auto executives broke federal labor laws, stole union funds and received bribes. The investigation has pushed the UAW to the brink of a federal takeover being considered by prosecutors to root out pervasive corruption. Jones became president after securing the support of the Reuther Administrative Caucus, a sort of political party that had essentially controlled appointments to top UAW leadership positions since the late 1940s. He was an unusual choice. Under UAW tradition, vice presidents who've led one of the union's three automotive departments have ascended to the president's seat, said Marick Masters, a professor of business and the former director of labor studies at Wayne State University. Jones appeared to be an outsider at a time when the federal investigation was heating up with authorities labeling the union and Fiat Chrysler as co-conspirators in the widening scandal. Jones is a CPA, one of the "principal reasons why he was able to catapult himself over nominal front-runners," Masters said. Jones, he said, "was picked for this position because he was outside of the Detroit area, not implicated in the (corruption) and brought a background in accounting that I think people thought would get favorable public reviews."

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