The union disclosed it spent $36,069 on legal fees for President Ray Curry, and $113,016 on legal fees for outgoing Vice President Cindy Estrada, who heads the union’s Stellantis department.
The union in 2020 paid out nearly $30,000 in legal fees for four officers: $10,888 for Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith; $10,718 for Region 9A Director Beverley Brakeman; $6,683 for Curry; and $1,210 for Estrada.
Both figures are still significantly smaller than what the UAW spent on Ex-President Dennis Williams, who is now in prison for embezzling money from the union. In 2019, the UAW paid $320,912 in legal fees defending Williams and $24,599 for defending Ex-President Gary Jones, who is also in prison.
All told, 16 individuals have been charged — and 16 have pleaded guilty — in the U.S. government’s ongoing UAW corruption probe that has resulted in a six-year period of oversight for the union.
According to the UAW’s annual report, Curry collected total compensation, including expenses, of $272,726 in 2021 after being elevated to president following the early retirement of his predecessor, Rory Gamble.
Estrada, who announced her impending retirement last month, collected total compensation of $319,321 including the legal fees; Vice President Terry Dittes, who also recently announced an impending retirement, made $238,144; Secretary-Treasurer Frank Stuglin made $209,842; and Vice President Chuck Browning made $208,924.
The UAW’s net assets rose slightly in 2021 to nearly $1.1 billion, up from about $1 billion in 2020. The union’s strike fund, tapped into during a 40-day walkout at General Motors in 2019, rose slightly to $815 million from $790 million a year ago, according to a union spokesman.
Earlier this week, ahead of the report’s release, Curry reported that membership fell roughly 6 percent to 372,254 last year. He attributed the dip to the end-of-year timing of the report, since payroll and dues processing was delayed by end-of-year downtime or temporary layoffs because of the semiconductor shortage.