FLINT — Ex-UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell made national headlines in April when he pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and misappropriation of union funds.
Now, a group of former and current United Auto Workers members are hoping to purge all references to Jewell at the local and national UAW levels.
Genesee County Clerk John Gleason, along with local UAW retirees and members, has started an online petition to remove Jewell’s name and likeness from UAW offices and monuments in the state.
The petition reads:
“We the concerned undersigned citizens petition the UAW International Union to remove the convicted, treacherous, felon UAW Vice President, Fiat Chrysler Automobile Norwood Jewell’s likeness, photos, name and all reminders from all UAW property in an efficient and expedited manner before Labor Day September 2, 2019.”
Thus far, over 200 individuals—many of whom are self-described UAW members— have signed the petition. Overall, Gleason’s group is looking gather at least 1,000 signatures through May 10.
Having worked in the Flint Truck Assembly for 10 years and paid union dues for four decades, Gleason said that he has a moral obligation to “point out when there’s illegal activity in the union.” He also said that it’s imperative for the UAW to take action and remove Jewell’s name and likeness before Labor Day.
“We must be able to recognize, recoil against and remove corruption in the system,” he said regarding the UAW. “Labor Day is such a significant worker’s holiday, and we think it would be an insult if (Jewell’s) name and image aren’t removed before then.”
Last month, Gleason and several other former UAW workers protested at the Sitdown Striker’s Monument, where Jewell’s name is prominently mentioned. Pictures of Jewell are also still being displayed in several local UAW offices.
From what he’s heard, Gleason said that most—if not all—references to Jewell have been removed from International UAW offices.
Since the petition page has gone live, former and current UAW members have weighed in with comments online about Jewell’s actions and voiced frustration with the union for not expunging his name and likeness from UAW monuments.
“The UAW belongs to the rank-andfile members,” said Thomas A. from Michigan. “Jewel’s (sic) name and the names of his criminal cohort belong on a prison cell-block roster, not among the UAW heroes.”
Other petition signers said that Jewell should not be entitled to a union pension.
“Being a union advocate, it breaks my heart to see how far we have fallen,” said Nancy K. from Michigan. “I believe all convicted of selling out the membership for their own greed should not be allowed to collect a UAW pension, and should have to repay legal fees.”
Jewell, who took a plea deal last month, is expected to serve between a year and 15 months for his role in accepting illegal gifts from officials at Fiat Chrysler and misusing union funds.
Those interested in signing the petition to remove Jewell’s name and likeness from all UAW properties can log on to thepetitionsite.com and search for the keyword “Solidarity.”