Ten members of Ironworkers Local 401, Philadelphia, Pa., were indicted and have been arrested
for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to commit criminal acts of extortion, destruction of property, and assault in order to force nonunion construction contractors to hire union ironworkers. In addition, the indictment included the $500,000 in damages at ABC member E. Allen Reeves, Inc.’s Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House project in 2012 as one of the crimes allegedly committed by the defendants.
According to the indictment
, union leaders urged their members to picket, threaten, and destroy the property of contractors who ignored threats against hiring nonunion employees.
In addition, the defendants created “goon” squads, which were groups that could be relied upon to commit these violent acts against nonunion contractors and referred to the criminal activity as “night work.” One “goon” squad even referred to themselves as the “T.H.U.G.’s” or “The Helpful Union Guys.” The Ironworkers Local 401 supported one “goon” squad by providing them with an acetylene torch, gas, and oxygen tanks to commit the arsons and rewarded them with preferential treatment on job assignments and appointing them to positions of authority within the union.
Prosecutors also noted that the violence
appeared not to be just a tactic in the ironworkers' toolbox, but a deeply ingrained part of their organization.