It’s probably just a temporary hiccup, knowing Philadephia, but for the moment 10 members of Ironworkers Local Union 401 are in hot water. This morning, according to NBC 10, “more than 100 FBI agents, prosecutors and Philadelphia Police officers teamed up” to make the arrests — that’s a 10 to 1 ratio to nab what U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger characterized as “goon squads.”
The reason for the arrest is because of the vandalism and violence the Local has employed to protest construction sites that use non-union labor, including “assaults, arsons and other violent, and destructive, acts to make their point emphatically clear,” according to Memeger. That point? “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/business manager Joseph Dougherty, city business agent Edward Sweeney, county business agent Christopher Prophet were among those arrested.
Also named in the federal indictment were William Gillin, Daniel Hennigar, Francis Sean O'Donnell, William O'Donnell, Richard Ritchie, Greg Sullivan and James Walsh.
They also are accused of cutting wires and setting fire to a Quaker meetinghouse site where non-union workers were being used.
Dougherty, Sweeney and Prophet are big fish, so this is big news. I expect them to be released in...oh, are they out already? Well, it'll be soon.
One side note of a humorous nature: NBC 10's website reads:
The indictment against members of Local 401 accuses some of the suspects as using baseball and threats of violence to induce employers to hire union workers.
"We will make you buy season tickets!" That'd be enough to dissaude plenty of folks.
Update: It appears the above line on NBC 10 has been fixed, thus making my joke no longer funny.