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Top UAW official will not seek re-election

Nora Naughton
The Detroit News

A top United Auto Workers official is retiring and will not seek re-election in June.

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel, who was nominated again for the position at the end of last year, confirmed his decision to step down in an emailed statement. His departure was first reported by Automotive News.

“After much thought and discussion with my family, I have made a personal decision not to seek re-election as Secretary-Treasurer of the UAW,” Casteel said. “As I stated last fall, Detroit is a terrific place, but my wife and I love our hometown near Nashville.”

Casteel was nominated by the union’s Reuther Caucus in November along with a slate of other top leadership candidates. Receiving a nomination for president was Gary Jones, a former administrative assistant to the secretary-treasurer who is a director of the union’s 17-state Region 5 out west.

Casteel’s decision comes amid a widening federal investigation into corruption involving UAW training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers and has resulted in charges against several former senior UAW colleagues and their relatives.

Former FCA labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli and the wife of deceased UAW vice president General Holiefield have pleaded guilty to charges in an alleged scheme involving the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the funds earmarked for member training.

Retired UAW vice president Joe Ashton, who has drawn the scrutiny of federal agents looking into potential corruption at the joint training centers, also resigned from General Motors Co.’s board of directors at the end of last year. And Norwood Jewell, former head of the FCA department, retired Jan. 1 — six months before his term was scheduled to end.

Casteel, 60, has not been named or charged in the FBI’s probe into the training centers.

“As a proud 30-year member of the UAW, I’m as optimistic as ever about the future,” he said in the statement. “We’ve made great strides in recent years to balance our budget and reach fiscal stability. Meanwhile, we still have much work to do. It has been an honor and privilege to serve.”

Casteel joined the UAW in 1988 and has held the secretary-treasurer position since June 2014. He was preceded by current UAW President Dennis Williams.