Feds Bring Hammer Down On Union Thuggery


NBC10: On Tuesday morning, Memeger announced that more than 100 FBI agents, prosecutors and Philadelphia Police officers teamed up to arrest 10 members of Ironworkers Local Union 401. The indictment against members of Local 401 accuses some of the suspects of using baseball bats, torching a future religious site and threats of violence to induce employers to hire union workers. “The defendants used ‘goon squads,’ which included union members and associates who committed assaults, arsons and other violent and destructive acts, to make their point emphatically clear,” said Memeger. “That point, to any contractor or builder, was, ‘You better hire local ironworker union members, or you will pay a heavy price.'” One group even alleged called themselves “‘THUG’ — The Helpful Union Guys,” according to Memeger. The union’s treasurer and business manager Joseph Dougherty, city business agent Edward Sweeney and county business agent Christopher Prophet were among those arrested. MORE

INQUIRER: They called themselves “the Helpful Union Guys” – “THUGS” for short – and woe awaited any contractor who dared cross them by hiring non-organized workers. For, federal authorities alleged Tuesday, this “goon squad” of members of Ironworkers Local 401 set fires, started riots, and took crowbars to the competition in an effort to protect union jobs. FBI agents arrested 10 of the union’s leaders Tuesday morning, including longtime head Joseph Dougherty, in a racketeering conspiracy case that appeared to affirm long-standing business complaints over the tactics employed by Philadelphia unions. Prosecutors alleged that Dougherty and others have cost contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars over at least three years, and were indiscriminate in choosing their targets – equally willing to break skulls with baseball bats at a Toys R Us work site in King of Prussia or torch a Quaker meetinghouse under construction in Chestnut Hill. MORE