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10 in Ironworkers local in Philadelphia charged with using goon squads

Feb. 18, 2014 at 11:56 PM   |   Comments

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Five officials with a Philadelphia Ironworkers local and five members were charged Tuesday with using violence and arson against employers of non-union labor.

The U.S. Attorney's Office released an indictment charging eight defendants with racketeering conspiracy. Among the alleged crimes was setting a crane on fire at the site where a Quaker meeting house was under construction in Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill neighborhood.

Joseph Dougherty, financial secretary and business manager for Local 401 of the Ironworkers Union, was among those charged.

"The strong-arm tactics we have seen in this case are outrageous and brazen -- and an unfortunate blow to the worthy intentions of unionism," said Edward J. Hanko, special agent in charge for the FBI in Philadelphia. "The fight for workers' rights may sometimes call for tough tactics, but violence, intimidation, arson, and sabotage are crimes which won't be tolerated. This investigation has been wide-ranging, but it is far from over. Now that this indictment has been unsealed, we expect to hear from more victims and will aggressively pursue all other leads we receive."

Investigators said the union got tips about construction projects where Local 401 members were not used and then used tactics ranging from picket lines to threats to beatings and arson to convince contractors to hire union labor.

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