By Agence France-Presse
The head of the United Auto Workers is taking a leave of absence, the powerful US union under a federal corruption probe announced Saturday.
Gary Jones asked to take leave following a vote by the union’s executive board, the UAW said in a statement. The leave will begin Sunday.
The union, which has been waging high-stakes talks with the big US automakers, is being probed by the Justice Department.
The FBI raided Jones’ home in August as part of the investigation. Twelve union officials have been charged, but not Jones.
One of the 12, Edward Robinson, is accused of conspiring to embezzle $1.5 million from the union for personal use, CNBC reported, adding that he has ties to Jones.
“The UAW is fighting tooth-and-nail to ensure our members have a brighter future. I do not want anything to distract from the mission,” Jones said in the statement.
Last month the union negotiated a new contract with General Motors, after the longest automotive strike in the US in nearly 50 years.
This week the UAW said it reached a tentative labor agreement with Ford, and it plans contract talks with Fiat-Chrysler.