ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – FBI agents raided the United Auto Workers’ offices in north St. Louis County on Wednesday and likely searched the St. Charles home of a local UAW official.
Federal agents here and across the country have been busy serving search warrants at properties tied the UAW.
Neighbors in a St. Charles subdivision said their street was swarming with more than a dozen FBI agents early Wednesday morning.
We went to the home that was searched. A woman answered the door wearing a UAW shirt. She said she had no comment.
Residents saw agents carry many items from the home including computers though the FBI would neither confirm nor deny if the home is a part of an active investigation. Nor is it clear if the homeowner is the focus of an investigation.
A few hours later, the UAW Region 5 offices in north county were also searched by federal agents. St. Louis County police provided support and kept people off the property. A parade of cars left the scene when they wrapped up.
After they left, we discovered the doors were locked. When the office number was called, a recording played that said the office was closed.
The raids in St. Louis follow a flurry of activity in Michigan Wednesday. The FBI and IRS raided the home of UAW President Gary Jones, located just outside Detroit. Jones used to work here in St. Louis for the UAW. Broadcast reports in Michigan indicated the federal activity appeared to be another step in an investigation of apparent union corruption.
The UAW released a statement and said there was absolutely no need for the search in Detroit. The union said it is cooperating with investigators.
Eight people have pleaded guilty in the investigation of union officials and Fiat Chrysler executives for allegedly enriching themselves with money from a job training center. The Detroit Free Press reported properties tied to the union or its leadership past and present have also been raided in California and Wisconsin.
The UAW and automakers are in the midst of negotiating a new contract. The FBI in St. Louis would only say it was at the two locations Wednesday for law enforcement purposes.
You can read the full statement from United Automobile Workers below:
"The UAW and President Gary Jones have always fully cooperated with the government investigators in this matter. As the leader of the UAW, President Jones is determined to uncover and address any and all wrongdoing, wherever it might lead. There was absolutely no need for search warrants to be used by the government today — the UAW has voluntarily responded to every request the government has made throughout the course of its investigation, produced literally hundreds of thousands of documents and other materials to the government, and most importantly, when wrongdoing has been discovered, we have taken strong action to address it. The UAW will continue to cooperate with the government in its investigation, as we have been doing throughout.
"Trust in UAW leadership is never more important than during the bargaining process, when profit-laden auto companies stand to benefit from media leaks, false assumptions, and political grandstanding. The sole focus of President Jones and his team will be winning at the bargaining table for our members."