UAW seeks to expel 8 members involved in corruption scandal

DETROIT — The UAW on Friday said it took action to expel eight members who have faced charges in the government’s ongoing U.S. corruption probe of the union. All but one of the members have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges.

The eight officials facing the UAW’s so-called Article 31 charges include Norwood Jewell, a former vice president and head of the UAW-FCA department who pleaded guilty in April of last year to violating the Labor Management Relations Act and is currently serving a 15-month prison term, as well as Joe Ashton, a former vice president and head of the UAW-GM department who pleaded guilty in December to money laundering and wire fraud and awaits sentencing.

The union also filed charges against Edward “Nick” Robinson, Nancy Johnson, Jeffrey Pietrzyk, Michael Grimes, Keith Mickens and Virdell King. All have been charged in the years-long scandal, which to date has resulted in charges against 13 people, and 11 have pleaded guilty.

“Any UAW member who uses their position to break the law or blatantly violates the sacred oath they took to faithfully serve our members will be subject to removal from their post and expulsion from our union,” President Rory Gamble said in a statement.

“My administration, and the entire Executive Board, will continue to hold accountable those who commit criminal conduct or serious violations of our Ethical Practices Code. And we will continue to aggressively implement the critical reforms necessary to strengthen our union’s financial controls, oversight and overall accounting system to ensure the type of conduct described in these charges will not reoccur.”

The Article 31 charges were signed by every member of the union’s International Executive Board. They claim that those charged “engaged in serious misconduct in violation of the law and the Ethical Practices Code of the UAW constitution.”

The move would expel the members from the union, and they would forfeit most benefits, although a spokesman said the union does not have the power to strip their pensions.

The union late last year moved to expel former President Gary Jones and former Region 5 Director Vance Pearson by filing Article 30 charges against them, although both resigned their positions and union membership before a trial could begin. Jones has not been accused of wrongdoing, while Pearson is expected to plead guilty in court next week.

The eight people facing Article 31 charges now face a UAW trial in the coming weeks. According to the union’s constitution, a seven-person trial committee will be selected, and if two-thirds of the committee finds the accused guilty, they can be expelled from the union.

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Coronavirus in employees of German supplier Webasto rises to 7

FRANKFURT — German supplier Webasto said on Friday that two more of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to seven.

Earlier this week, the company began disclosing the illnesses of the other workers, in what was one of the first cases of person-to-person transmission outside China.

One of the newly-diagnosed employees is German and in Germany, while the other is Chinese and in Shanghai. Both are being treated in a hospital, Webasto said.

The newly identified sick employees had been in close contact with the other employees found to have contracted the illness.

All seven, five Germans and two Chinese, had taken part in various long meetings at Webasto headquarters in Stockdorf, Bavaria, the company said.

On Monday, the company first announced that a Chinese employee from Shanghai had tested positive for the virus upon return to China following a visit to company headquarters. Other illnesses in Germany were disclosed during the course of the week.

Webasto, based in southern Germany, said that 122 employees tested negative for the virus this week but that some results were still outstanding.

The headquarters will remain closed through Monday.

Webasto, which has 11 locations in China, including in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus, has banned corporate travel to and from China.

Earlier on Friday, Germany confirmed that a child of one of the sickened Webasto employees had tested positive for the virus.

CarMax buying $50M minority stake in Edmunds

Used-vehicle retailer CarMax Inc. is investing $50 million to buy a minority stake in Edmunds, the automotive retail research and vehicle-listing company.

CarMax said Wednesday the move is mean to bolster its omnichannel retail strategy designed to meet and interact with shoppers wherever and however they’re shopping, across multiple channels, online and in store.

“Edmunds’ proprietary content, comprehensive automotive market insights and streamlined user experience across the car buying and selling journey will allow us to deepen our engagement with customers shopping online,” Bill Nash, CarMax president and CEO, said in a statement.

CarMax is expected to complete its rollout of the omnichannel strategy, which it is calling a “personalized buying experience,” by the end of February 2021, although most of its markets will be covered in some form by the end of February 2020.

The announcement follows Edmunds’ plans to eliminate 129 jobs by March. Those cuts are part of a restructuring that it said follows a series of strategic moves to reposition the business.

Of the job reductions, 122 will be at Edmunds’ Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters, triggering notification to the state under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act. Another seven are at a satellite office in Detroit.

Edmunds employed more than 550 people prior to the job cuts announced this month. The company said it doesn’t disclose the number of employees who work out of each location.

The company did not elaborate on the reasons for the restructuring. In an emailed statement Tuesday, Jamie Epstein, vice president of employment experience for Edmunds, told Automotive News that Edmunds needs “more time and preparation” to evolve the business “to transform the way we serve clients and consumers in a performance oriented way.”

The restructuring, she added, “will refocus the company on its core revenue drivers so that we are in the most financially healthy spot for future growth.”

Edmunds, a third-party vehicle listings site, offers shoppers the ability to review vehicles and pricing information. Its history dates to the 1960s, when it produced printed vehicle pricing guides.

Edmunds declined to quantify how large a stake CarMax has acquired.

“We’re excited for this opportunity to collaborate with another well-respected industry leader that is dedicated toward making car shopping easier for consumers,” Edmunds CEO Avi Steinlauf said in a news release. “With our expanded resources and capabilities, we’re confident this will be a mutually beneficial partnership for many years to come.”

Henry Ford Museum preparing Driven to Win: Racing in America exhibit

Henry Ford Museum preparing Driven to Win: Racing in America exhibit

Driven to Win: Racing in America is the title for an exhibition opening in June in the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan. The 24,000-square-foot display will be housed within the museum’s extensive Driving America exhibit area and will “the first comprehensive exhibition covering various forms of American auto racing” for the facility.

The museum promises to provide visitors with “an in-depth look at the people, the experiences, the culture, the spectacle, the risks and the innovations centered in the world of American auto sports.”

“Racing is such a multisensory experience,” museum president Patricia Mooradian is quoted in the news release. “With Driven to Win, we hope to bring to life the excitement fans get at the race track and inspire our guests with the passionate stories of those innovators who have dedicated their lives to this exhilarating and game-changing sport.”

Driven to Win: Racing in America exhibit at Henry Ford Museum

Driven to Win: Racing in America exhibit at Henry Ford Museum

Though housed in the museum named for Henry Ford, the exhibition is being sponsored by General Motors.

“General Motors is proud to present this amazing new permanent exhibition at The Henry Ford,” said GM president Mark Reuss. “Our motorsports heritage goes back to the days of Louis Chevrolet and beyond, and it has always remained a big part of who we are, and what we do, especially in terms of driving engineering excellence and implementing the transfer of technology and innovation from the track to the street.”

In addition to cars ranging from the 1906 “Old 16” Locomobile to Indy 500 and Le Mans winners and speed record-setting 1965 Goldenrod, the exhibition will expose visitors to driver fitness and race car design and engineering displays and offer 15-minute experiences in racing simulators. A 4D movie experience, “Fueled by Passion,” also will be part of the exhibit.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.