By DeJanay Booth

DETROIT (AP) — Members of the United Auto Workers will vote in national leadership elections after a judge approved the results of a referendum that rose from a corruption scandal at the union.

The change must be added to the UAW’s constitution by June 30, in time for the next election of officers at the Detroit-based union, U.S. District Judge David Lawson said in a brief order Monday. A court-appointed monitor, Neil Barofsky, will design the new system.

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“We will continue to work with the monitor to ensure that the UAW is fully reformed, free of corruption and fraud, and that the union’s elections will be fair and in compliance with the will of the membership,” U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said.

In December, a direct election system won by a landslide: 63.7% to 36.3%. More than 140,000 active or retired union members voted.

The UAW currently picks leaders through delegates at conventions, a system that bred cronyism and corruption and put distance between blue-collar workers and union executives, critics said.

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The referendum was part of a broader agreement between the UAW and federal authorities to clean up the union.

A dozen convictions in recent years exposed corruption at the highest levels and led to prison terms for two presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, who enjoyed rich meals, high-end lodging and rounds of golf with UAW money. Others got cash and gifts from a training center or took kickbacks.

The UAW, best known for representing workers in the auto industry, has roughly 397,000 active members and more than 580,000 retired members across the U.S.

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