United Auto Workers (UAW) president Gary Jones is taking a paid leave of absence amid a federal investigation of corruption in the union.
The UAW said Jones requested the leave, which is effective Sunday.
The federal government has been investigating fraud and misuse of funds at the UAW for more than two years. In late August, the FBI conducted searches at Jones’s suburban Detroit home and other locations.
Jones has not been charged with any crimes. In a court filing last week, federal prosecutors alleged that seven top UAW officials conspired since 2010 to embezzle funds through schemes such as submitting false vouchers for conference expenses.
UAW vice-president Rory Gamble will serve as acting president. He recently negotiated the union’s tentative agreement with Ford Motor Co.
In a statement, Jones said he is stepping aside so the union can focus on negotiating better contracts for its workers.
On Friday, the UAW’s senior leaders at Ford’s U.S. plants recommended approval of a tentative four-year labour agreement with the U.S. automaker, sending the deal to the 52,000 UAW members at Ford for final approval. The union previously ratified a similar deal with General Motors Co. and will soon move to negotiate with Fiat Chrysler.