DETROIT — U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said he has received no pressure or requests from the White House or Attorney General’s Office to speed up a federal investigation into the UAW before November’s presidential election.
Schneider’s office is in the midst of a yearslong corruption probe that has produced 14 convictions, mostly of former UAW officials, including past President Gary Jones. Schneider has indicated a federal takeover of the union through racketeering charges remains a possibility.
The issue has serious political ramifications.
Schneider, a Trump administration appointee, could conceivably neuter a powerful labor organization that has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, a move Trump would likely tout as he pins his reelection hopes on a “law and order” message.
Schneider told Automotive News on Friday that he’d like to implement reforms within the troubled union by the end of the year but that he has received no outside pressure to do so.
“Not at all,” he said. “This is my timeline.”
Schneider met with UAW President Rory Gamble in July to hash out ways the union could root out corruption without federal intervention. He is hopeful that meaningful reforms could take place before 2021.
“I don’t want to leave this office until the UAW problem is solved,” he said. “That’s really one of my goals in this office is to get the UAW reforms completed. I’m hopeful we can do that before the end of this year. As far as the criminal cases go, that’s unpredictable. They oftentimes last years.”
Prosecutors on Thursday announced charges against ex-UAW President Dennis Williams, accusing the 67-year-old of conspiring to embezzle union funds.
Schneider said investigations into both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Co. remain ongoing and it’s unclear when they could end.
He declined to say whether he would ask to remain in his post under a Biden administration. U.S. attorneys traditionally resign following a change in administration to allow the new president to make their own appointees.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll have to wait until we’re closer to that date. I’m just not certain.”
Schneider had blasted the UAW for not providing “active cooperation” in the ongoing investigation but has softened his tone since the meeting with Gamble.
“I do think the UAW is receptive to reform,” Schneider said Friday. “My meeting with Rory was very positive and very helpful. I do think they’re trying hard, and there’s a lot that still remains to be accomplished. I do think they’re willing to make changes.”