DETROIT – A federal judge took a notable step Tuesday by ordering CEOs of General Motors and Fiat Chrysler to meet and settle a lawsuit over whether one company had a competitive advantage over the other when union leaders bathed in cash and others. advantage.
has charged Fiat Chrysler FCAU,
of extortion, saying the rival won labor concessions during the contract talks because United Auto Workers officials were bribed with money from a job training center.
Federal District Judge Paul Borman ordered GM CEO Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler counterpart Mike Manley to meet in person before July 1 “to reach a sensible solution to this huge legal distraction.” .
“What a waste of time and resources, now and for years to come in this mega-litigation, if these automotive leaders and their large teams of attorneys must focus significant, time-consuming efforts to carry out this ‘nuclear option’ claim, if you keep going, ”Borman said.
He said he wants a Barra and Manley update at noon on July 1.
The judge noted that GM and Chrysler were rescued by the federal government with billions of dollars during the Great Recession.
“Today our country needs and deserves to be paid by these now healthy big companies by also focusing on rescuing this country and its citizens from the COVID-19 plagues, racism and injustice while building the best motor vehicles in the world,” Borman said.
Federal agents have been investigating corruption in the top ranks of the UAW. The first wave of convictions in 2017 involved key Fiat Chrysler employees who used money from a jointly run training center to reward union officials. Al Iacobelli, who was the car maker’s job boss, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.
General Holiefield, a UAW vice president who was responsible for negotiating with Fiat Chrysler, paid off a $ 262,000 mortgage, the government said.
In response to GM’s lawsuit, Fiat Chrysler, known as FCA, has denied that it directed bribes and wants the judge to dismiss the case.
“Our opinion on GM’s demand has not changed,” FCA said Tuesday. “As we have said since the date it was filed, the lawsuit has no merit and should be withdrawn. Therefore, we recognize Judge Borman’s concerns and look forward to meeting to discuss them and ideally leave this matter behind. ”
GM said it has a strong case against FCA.
“We expect a constructive dialogue with FCA consistent with the court order,” the company said.