Two Former UAW Officials Sentenced To Prison.
Two former UAW officers from a Pontiac local were sentenced Monday for conspiring to commit extortion in an 8-year-old case resulting from a strike 14 years ago at a General Motors truck plant in Pontiac.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced Donny Douglas, 70, a former UAW international representative, to 18 months in prison. Jay Campbell, 70, a former president of UAW Local 594 in Pontiac, was sentenced to 12 months and one day. Both were convicted by a jury in 2006 on charges that they agreed to settle an 87-day strike at a GM Pontiac truck plant in 1997 only after GM agreed to hire Campbell’s son, Gordon, and Todd Fante, son-in-law of former UAW Local 594 official Clarence Powell.
Neither the younger Campbell nor Fante were technically qualified for the skilled trades jobs, which paid as much as $150,000 a year, or about twice what a veteran UAW production worker earns and nearly quadruple what an entry-level UAW worker makes today.
As a result, multiple qualified applicants filed grievances with GM for not following the hiring process set forth in national and local labor agreements. Two qualified applicants were eventually hired in addition to Campbell and Fante.
The original case, which began in 2002, also named former UAW official William Coffey as a defendant, but he died in 2003. Edmunds dismissed the charges in 2003, but three judges from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed her decision and reinstated the charges.
When Douglas and Campbell were convicted in 2006, they faced up to 30 years in prison and fines of as much as $750,000. But Edmunds said at the 2007 sentencing hearing that she didn’t see the case as a serious offense that merited a severe sentence.
In May 2007, Edmunds sentenced each defendant to six months’ house arrest and two years of probation. Both appealed the sentences on the basis that violating a labor agreement is not a criminally wrongful use of a labor position. They also argued that the prosecution had presented insufficient evidence.
Last February, the Sixth Circuit not only upheld the convictions, but said Edmunds’ original sentence had been too lenient, and sent the case back to her for resentencing.
Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, said the Bureau of Prisons will decide where and when Douglas and Campbell will serve their sentences. Source: Greg Gardner. Detroit Free Press.