United Auto Workers official charged with conspiring to embezzle union funds
UAW director Vance Pearson was arrested following a series of FBI searches last week
A senior member of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union was arrested Thursday and charged with conspiring with other union officials to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars in union money, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit said.
Vance Pearson, 58, of St. Charles, Missouri, a member of the union's International Executive Board and a regional director, was charged after search warrants were executed by the FBI last week at a number of locations, including at Pearson's UAW office and at current UAW President Gary Jones' Michigan home.
Jones has not been charged with wrongdoing. The charges come as the UAW's contract with Detroit's Big Three automakers is set to expire on Sept. 14.
In response, UAW issued a statement Thursday, saying the union's highest priority is "maintaining the trust and confidence of United Auto Worker members."
"While these allegations are very concerning, we strongly believe that the government has misconstrued any number of facts and emphasize that these are merely allegations, not proof of wrongdoing," the union said. "Regardless, we will not let this distract us from the critical negotiations underway with GM to gain better wages and benefits for the more the 400,000 members of our union."