Former UAW Vice President pleads guilty to conspiracy with Fiat Chrysler execs

Aug 6, 2019 at 4:20 pm
click to enlarge UAW's Detroit HQ. - James R. Martin /
James R. Martin /
UAW's Detroit HQ.

The former Vice-President of the United Auto Workers has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in diverting company funds to pay for luxury vacations, golf outings, high-end alcohol, and expensive steak dinners, according to the Department of Justice.

In April, Norwood Jewell pleaded guilty to misusing funds meant to train workers at a training center as well as misappropriating funds to pay for his luxury lifestyle. Jewell, who worked with Fiat-Chrysler and other UAW officials as part of the conspiracy, will be sent to a minimum-security prison in West Virginia in January, according to the DOJ report.

As part of his plea, Jewell testified that other Fiat-Chrysler officials continued to defraud the company after the previous officials left office, according to the report. Jewell is one of eight people who have pleaded guilty as a result of the four-year investigation.

“A man gets put in a cesspool. He was destined to fail the second he got in there, because of the way things were run prior to [his tenure],” Jewell’s defense attorney Michael Manly said on Tuesday, according to Michigan Radio.

Manly said the violations committed by his client are “technical violations” of the law and are different than the other defendants in the case. But many others feel differently about the situation, including Detroit U.S Attorney Matthew Schneider, who was involved in the case.

“Today’s conviction of a UAW Vice President demonstrates that our efforts to clean up labor corruption will not rest until the 400,000 UAW members and their families are represented by union officials of honor and integrity,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider, according to the DOJ. “Labor leaders must always put the best interests of the hardworking men and women of the union over their own personal interests.”

Local UAW chapter 961 president Mike Booth read a victim's statement at the sentencing:

"Norwood Jewell was placed in a position of power only to ride high on the hog at the expense of the hardworking UAW members," Booth said as he read the statement, according to The Detroit Free Press. "This is not a victimless crime."

According to Justice Department officials, the investigation is ongoing and could result in additional charges for other union officials.

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