United States: FCA sentenced for paying more than $3.5M in bribes to UAW leaders

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to pay $30 million for conspiring to break federal law in the largest labour case against a Detroit automaker whose employees are represented by the United Auto Workers.

FCA, now part of Stellantis NV, must pay that fine within the next 30 days. But the $3.5 million in bribes the automaker made to UAW leaders has even longer-lasting implications for the maker of Jeep and Ram vehicles. An as-yet-unnamed independent monitor for the next three years will oversee the company’s compliance with labour laws and the dissolution of a joint training centre the UAW operated with FCA. The company’s actions also could have implications for labour negotiations in 2023.

“I think we’re getting the short end of the stick,” said John Barbosa, 50, of Clinton, a skilled trades apprentice at Toledo Assembly Plant. “I think Stellantis is getting off easy, way too easy. There’s not any way you can convince me that the contracts weren’t tainted, because of the company’s actions conspiring with the union officials and giving them extravagant gifts and money, and we’re not getting anything back from FCA.”

FCA pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act following a years-long investigation into UAW corruption. The probe produced 15 convictions, including three former FCA executives. The money Stellantis pays will go to the U.S. Treasury general fund. FCA is not required to pay any sort of restitution.

“This is a warning to the new ownership that you can’t play games with the U.S. labour law,” said Art Wheaton, an automotive industry specialist at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School. “It’s an important reminder for the UAW members that it wasn’t just their union that was corrupt. They were enticed or lured by some illegal activities that were being done by the company.”

The original full article can be found at detroitnews.com

(Picture: Automotive News Europe)

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