Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Fiat Chrysler-UAW Scheme Didn't Corrupt Labor Deals, Union Says

The president of the United Auto Workers denied that contracts with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV were tainted by a scheme in which top labor negotiators were enriching themselves from a union training fund.

In a letter to UAW members, President Dennis Williams said Fiat Chrysler’s former top labor negotiator “by his own admission is a crook and a liar.” The former Fiat Chrysler executive, Alphons Iacobelli, pleaded guilty this week to diverting more than $1.5 million to UAW officials and representatives and $1 million to himself from a training center jointly operated by the union and the carmaker.

Fiat Chrysler executives sought to corrupt contract talks by bribing UAW officials, prosecutors said in Iacobelli’s plea agreement. Iacobelli, who led U.S. labor relations for the automaker until June 2015, paid former UAW Vice President General Holiefield and his wife more than $1.2 million for them to buy jewelry, designer clothing and furniture, and to pay off a mortgage. Iacobelli also diverted money to spend on a Ferrari, a swimming pool and Mont Blanc pens for himself, according to prosecutors.

“While Mr. Iacobelli will have to answer for his criminal conduct, it appears that in an attempt to get lenient treatment from the government he is now falsely spinning his crimes as an effort to corrupt the collective bargaining process between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler,” Williams said. “There is simply no truth to the claim that this misconduct compromised the negotiation of our collective bargaining agreement or had any impact on union funds.”

— With assistance by Keith Naughton

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