The former automaker, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has pleaded guilty to paying off United Auto Workers (UAW) leaders in order to gain concessions during negations that affected the contacts of thousands of union members. FCA indeed admitted it was guilty of conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Monday.
FCA’s plea follows a series of guilty pleas from former UAW leaders who have bestowed gifts totaling more than $3.5 million in cash and other items such as meals, golf outings, clothing, parties, and other things through the jointly ran training center located in Warren, Michigan during an 8-year period.
Chris Pardi, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for FCA-North America, who represented the company during the federal court proceedings stated that “one or more persons acting in the interests of FCA US agreed to pay and deliver and willfully paid and delivered more than $3.5 million in prohibited payments and things of value to officers and employees of the UAW”.
The former head of FCA labor relations, Al Iacobelli, had plotted a scheme involving five UAW officials and a spouse, which included the late UAW Vice President, General Holiefield, who oversaw the negotiations between the UAW and the automaker. Iacobelli claimed he eliminated a $262,000 home mortgage in 2014 for Holiefield, using training center money. Holiefield passed away in 2015.
Iacobelli was sentenced to 5 1/2-years in prison in 2018, with a sentence reduced by 18 months due to this cooperation. Holiefield’s spouse was found guilty of tax fraud and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, and a fine of $25,000, that same year. Holiefield’s successor, Norwood Jewell, was sentenced to 15 months in prison. His plea deal listed $60,000 in meals and golf paid with training center credit cards.
FCA will pay a $30 million fine to the U.S. government. An independent monitor will be appointed to oversee the end of the training center as well as handle other tasks. Sentencing is officially scheduled for June 21.
FCA merged with French automaker Peugeot S.A. (PSA) in January to form the new identity Stellantis, the fourth-largest global automaker by volume.
Video Source: WXYZ 7 Detroit