Despite 2018 intro, Gary Jones was no Rocky

DETROIT — Gary Jones strode onstage in downtown Detroit for the first time as president of the UAW in June 2018 to the Rocky theme observe, thrusting his fist into the air and promising members that he’d “combat for you.”

He didn’t determine the music himself — some union leaders later complained it wasn’t as enthusiastic as they’d have appreciated — however when anyone inside the UAW fancied Jones the Italian Stallion, they’ve been sorely mistaken. On this movie, he’s the unhealthy man who will get knocked out on the end.

His 28-month prison sentence for embezzlement and tax evasion handed down Thursday proved that the one issue Jones had in widespread with Rocky Balboa have been connections to the jail underworld. When you consider, Philly’s favorite fictional boxer started off as muscle-for-hire for an space mob boss to make ends meet.

Jones had bigger illicit ambitions.

The 63-year-old licensed public accountant hoodwinked auto employees out of tons of of hundreds from 2010 to 2019, prosecutors discovered. That cash paid for villas in Palm Springs, Calif., Titleist golf golf gear, Louis Roederer Cristal champagne and Diamond Crown Churchill cigars, amongst completely different luxuries.

Jones, alongside collectively together with his co-conspirators, did loads of {{golfing}} and ate loads of steak on members’ dime. Preventing for them? Not quite a bit.

Certain, he typically talked strong, telling Detroit 3 executives firstly of 2019 contract negotiations that the union was the “voice of the American employee” and “defender of the center class.”

However all via his tenure as president, he barely used that voice.

Jones avoided reporters whenever possible, ending quarterly media briefings.

In the course of the contract talks and ensuing 40-day strike of Basic Motors, he was nowhere to be found, choosing as a substitute for ship out underlings to the picket strains and data conferences as a result of the corruption scandal closed spherical him.

In the course of the 2019 Labor Day parade in downtown Detroit, normally a large deal for the UAW punctuated on the end by a speech from the president, Jones didn’t march all of the route, hustling off with completely different union officers about halfway by means of.

I made my method by means of the gang to the place he stood firstly of the parade and requested him to the touch upon the corruption scandal and the present FBI raid of his dwelling.

“No,” was all he’d present.

As Jones prepares to get cozy in his cell on the federal correctional institution in Seagoville, Texas, he may want to look at the “everybody can change” speech from Rocky IV — it’s good advice.

To be truthful, he might already have gotten that message. Prosecutors well-known his “damaged and contrite coronary heart” in advocating for a decreased sentence.

Let’s hope his contrition is sincere and that his sentencing really is, as current UAW President Rory Gamble said Thursday, the tip of “a really darkish chapter” inside the union’s historic previous.

As a result of when it comes to criminals like Jones, similar to with the Rocky movies, I imagine we’re in a position to all agree it’s best if there are no further sequels.

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