UAW President Gary Jones will take a leave of absence amid federal corruption probe

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Gary Jones, the newly-elected President of the United Auto Workers (UAW), addresses the 37th UAW Constitutional Convention June14, 2018 at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

United Auto Workers’ President Gary Jones will take a leave of absence effective Sunday after a vote by the union’s executive board, amid a widening federal corruption probe into the union.

“The UAW is fighting tooth and nail to ensure our members have a brighter future. I do not want anything to distract from the mission. I want to do what’s best for the members of this great union,” Jones said Saturday.

The union has been rocked by a federal corruption amid high stakes labor contract negotiations with General Motors and Ford. IRS and FBI agents raided Jones’ home in August, one of several targets in a multi-state raid.

Jones has not been charged with any crimes. Twelve people have been charged in the corruption investigation, including Edward Robinson, a union official with ties to Jones.

Robinson has been accused of conspiring with union leaders to “embezzle, steal, and unlawfully and willfully abstract” more than $1.5 million from the union for personal gain, according to a criminal filing.

Vice President Rory Gamble will serve as acting president. Gamble negotiated the new four-year labor contract with Ford, which was approved local UAW leaders on Friday. The contract now goes to the union’s rank-and-file for final approval.

The UAW clinched a four-year labor contract with General Motors after a historic 40-day strike that cost the automaker as much as $4 billion for the year and $1 billion in the third quarter.

CNBC’s Mike Wayland contributed to this report. 

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