"Although a full account of the damages sustained by GM is unknown at this time without further details of the scheme, GM estimates that it has incurred substantial financial damages in the form of higher costs it seeks to alleviate," the complaint states so. "This damage is a direct, significant and foreseeable consequence of this bribery plan orchestrated by the [Fiat Chrysler parent group] FCA Group and the many actions that played out the scheme."
GM claims that the bribes were part of a program to give Fiat Chrysler a competitive advantage against General Motors and potentially force a merger.
The bribes were authorized by the company's then CEO Sergio Marchionne, in violation of the Taft-Hartley Act, the 1
947 laws governing labor management and laws against wire and mail fraud, the lawsuit claims.
The attention-grabbing legal move comes on the heels and the huge strike, with 46,000 UAW workers halting production at General Motors for almost six weeks after the workers' four-year contract expired. UAW and GM signed a new contract in October that included wage improvements for workers, promising the company would bring full-time workers on permanent and mandatory increases every year.
The complaint also builds evidence gathered in an ongoing federal corruption probe that has affected leadership at both Fiat Chrysler and the UAW. Three former Fiat Chrysler officials, including Alphons Iacobelli, the company's former vice president of employment, and a handful of former UAW officials have pleaded guilty to charges related to the investigation.
Along with the lawsuit, Gary Jones, UAW's president, resigned Wednesday, said his attorney, J. Bruce Maffeo. Jones had stepped down to take leave earlier this month in the middle of the investigation; Federal agents raided his home in August. He is not charged with any wrongdoing.
"Although I do not know what my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has in store for me, I will look to him for guidance and support in the days and months to come," Jones said in a statement. His departure was first reported by Detroit News .
Acting UAW President Rory Gamble announced a series of ethical reforms in the weeks after Jones's leave was announced, promising to make the union's operations more transparent and ethical.
"The UAW is focused on continuing to implement ethical reforms and greater financial controls to ensure that the behavior uncovered will never happen again," the union said in a statement distributed Wednesday by spokesman Brian Rothenberg.
MR. Iacobelli worked for both [Fiat Chrysler] and General Motors, and he is currently in jail for his crimes, which include misusing Joint Program funds, "the statement states." Regarding the collective bargaining agreements negotiated with the FCA while Iacobelli was an FCA manager, we are confident that the terms of these contracts were not affected by Iacobelli's behavior or by UAW officials involved in misuse of funds from the FCA Joint Program . These contracts, which were eventually ratified by our membership, were negotiated with the involvement of both local and international representatives, and the process had multiple checks and balances to ensure their integrity. ”
Fiat Chrysler did not respond to an immediate request for comment. The company has a preliminary agreement to merge with Peugeot manufacturer PSA Group, which will make the company the fourth largest car manufacturer in the world.