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UAW president to take leave of absence amid corruption probe

Megan Henney

United Auto Workers President Gary Jones will take a leave of absence amid an escalating federal corruption probe into one of the country's most powerful unions.

Jones' decision, which follows a vote by the executive board, is effective beginning Sunday, according to the organization.

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“The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future," Jones said in a statement. "I do not want anything to distract from the mission. I want to do what’s best for the members of this great union."

The labor group has been plagued by allegations of embezzlement amid high-stakes negotiations with General Motors and Ford. In August, agents from the FBI, IRS and Labor Department raided Jones' home, gathering evidence in their probe.

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Jones has not been charged with any crimes. On Friday, prosecutors charged one of his top associates, Edward "Nick" Robinson, with conspiracy to embezzle union funds and conspiracy to defraud the U.S., making him the 12th person charged in the investigation.

Vice President Rory Gamble, who led the team that negotiated a new labor deal with Ford, will serve as acting president in the interim.

The news comes one week after the UAW cinched a four-year labor contract with General Motors, ending the historic 40-day strike that brought the U.S. auto giant's supply chain to a halt.

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