Gary Jones, head of union which represented workers in 40-day General Motors strike, has not been charged but home was searched
The United Auto Workers union announced on Saturday that its president, Gary Jones, is taking a paid leave of absence amid a federal corruption investigation.
The news came a little over a week after UAW-represented workers at General Motors approved a new contract after a 40-day strike.
The UAW said Jones requested the leave, which is effective from Sunday. Vice-president Rory Gamble will be acting president.
The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future, Jones said in a statement. I do not want anything to distract from the mission.
The union is in the middle of negotiating new four-year contracts with Detroit automakers. Union members are scheduled to begin voting on Monday on a deal with Ford which Gamble helped negotiate. If Ford workers ratify that agreement, the UAW will begin bargaining with Fiat Chrysler.
The FBI has been investigating fraud and misuse of funds at the UAW for more than two years. Ten people have been convicted, including union leaders and auto company officials.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors alleged that seven top UAW officials had conspired since 2010 to embezzle funds through schemes such as submitting false vouchers for conference expenses.
The Detroit News, citing sources familiar with the investigation, said Jones was one of the unnamed union leaders.
Jones has not been charged, but federal agents searched his suburban Detroit home in August.