Michigan Radio: Marick Masters on next steps for UAW leadership

Former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones was charged with several federal crimes for allegedly embezzling union dues. He’s the fourteenth person charged in an intertwined series of UAW corruption scandals. This leaves the union at a crossroads.

Marick Masters, a professor of business at Wayne State University, agrees the UAW needs serious reforms. Masters said the steps union leaders, including new President Rory Gamble, have taken in the wake of Jones’s departure aren’t enough. He agrees the union needs to change how it elects its leadership. “When you have a situation where there’s one-party rule, there’s a danger of complacency,” Masters said. “And there’s a danger of bureaucracy taking hold.” Masters said that’s exactly what’s happened over the past several decades at the UAW. And he said the union has become too cozy with the automakers it bargains with on workers’ behalf, with UAW officials sitting on the boards of company-funded joint worker training centers that have been entangled in the corruption scandals. Masters said the challenges facing the UAW are “deep and widespread going forward, in terms of trying to address the full implications of this scandal…which go beyond a few miscreant individuals, and raise questions about the institutional integrity of the union as a whole.”

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