November 16, 2020
The Honorable Judge Bernard Friedman
Theodore Levin United State Courthouse
231 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226.
Dear Judge Friedman,
We in the UAW can take some satisfaction in seeing UAW Vice President Joe Ashton sentenced in your courtroom on Tues., Nov. 17, 2020. It is well and good that Ashton will finally be sentenced for 30-37 months in prison for his criminal behavior including bribery and money laundering, accepting a $250,000 bribe illegally using contractually-generated joint funds intended for the benefit of the UAW-GM workforce.
As part of the sentencing, I would like you to consider his betrayal of GM auto workers whom he claimed to represent while he was UAW-GM Vice President. His betrayal and backstabbing occurred during the same time in August, 2012 and onward, when he was conspiring with his chiropractor to illegally arrange for him to receive a contract with the UAW-GM CHR in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in dispensations to himself and his underlings, Mike Grimes and Jeff “Paycheck” Pietrzyk.
It was on August 22, 2012 that VP Ashton traveled with GM executives to Bogota, Colombia where GM operates a vehicle assembly plant. He traveled on the Company’s dime to aid GM in ridding it of its labor relations “problem” at its Colmotores plant. You see, hundreds of GM workers there were being fired illegally due to injuries sustained on the job and put out on the street without disability or severance payments. Some of the fired workers – who weren’t represented by a union – decided to fight back - first, through the courts - and then with a protest tent encampment at the entrance of the US Embassy.
Neither GM nor Ashton took note of the workers’ efforts to seek relief for an entire year, and then only after 8 of the workers embarked on a hunger strike, dramatizing their determination by sewing their lips shut. 22 days into the hunger strike is when the GM "suits" showed up, Ashton in tow. There was a brief, sham “mediation” complete with a “final offer” by GM (agreed to by Ashton) which was so inadequate the workers just couldn’t accept.
Ashton and his GM pals left the workers to fend for themselves, and returned to the USA reading from the same script, making false claims that it was the “greedy” workers, and not GM, who abruptly ended the mediation. From then on, despite persistent efforts by UAW members, the UAW under Ashton’s direction turned its back on the injured and fired GM workers. GM - suspiciously unaware of Ashton’s criminal behavior - rewarded Ashton for this and undoubtedly other betrayals with a seat on GM’s Board.
When shareholders attended GM’s shareholders’ meeting in 2017 to protest to CEO Mary Barra over GM’s ill-treatment of its Colombian workforce, it was Ashton – of all the GM Board members’ present – whose face got the reddest.
Today, nine years later, the workers continue to pursue justice from their tent encampment. It will be fitting to inform them that you will be sentencing Ashton to a prison term for his criminal activity. He needs to spend a lot of time pondering his misdeeds, and his betrayal of those heroic GM workers.
Thank you for your time.
UAW-GM International Representative, retired (2007)