The federal government has quietly been investigating the abhorrent greed of top UAW executives who siphoned money earmarked to fund a new worker training center to support their lavish lifestyles. Remember, these are supposedly the champions of the blue-collar workers earning mid-five-figure incomes; the watchdogs of corporate spending; the megaphones demanding a company should always share a larger portion of revenue (regardless of profit) with the rank and file.
Nancy Johnson, the onetime second most senior official in the USW Chrysler Department, must not have learned the mantra: pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Here is a few month synopsis of her spending spree paid for by worker training center funds:
December: $1,914 on a first-class ticket from Detroit to LA for herself
December: $2,382 on a first-class ticket from Detroit to LA for an associate
January: $6,900 at Renaissance Resort & Spa in Palm Springs
January: $4,587 at LG’s Prime Steak House in Palm Springs
January: $1,800+ at Indian Canyons Golf Resort in Palm Springs
January: $1,800+ on clothing and jewelry in Palm Springs
January: $1,652 on limousine service from Palm Springs to San Diego
February: $1,217 at a spa in Pasadena, CA
April: $1,700+ for a set of golf clubs and golf bag on Amazon.com
May: $1,000+ at Divalicious on clothing, accessories, and home furnishing
August: $2,182 for a present (Italian shotgun) for another UAW executive
September: $6,912 for dinner at the London Chop House in Detroit
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why unions are required to file detailed expense accounting forms with the federal government. Ms. Johnson spent over $34,000 on fancy hotels, dinners, spas, clothing, jewelry, and presents in just a few months. This extravagance was detected when the Department of Labor audited why UAW Local 31 (Kansas City, Kansas) did not retain “hotel receipts for the 16 officers and employees who traveled to Palm Springs.” According to the audit, at least $11,000 in reimbursed travel expenses incurred by local union officers were not backed up by receipts.
To be fair, Ms. Johnson is just one of many implicated in this scheme. Others have plead guilty to crimes like tax evasion, others have yet to plead guilty but face years in jail. This scandal, so closely following the UAW’s monster failures at organizing Volkswagen (Tennessee) and Nissan (Mississippi) has given the once-mighty union two black eyes and a bloody lip.
Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers throughout the U.S.A. dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.