Legislation to Counter Union Tactics Goes to Gov. Tom Wolf for Signature

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill this week that, if signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, will likely have an impact on organized labor in Philadelphia. House Bill 874 (see below), introduced by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin County), would amend the state’s Crimes Code, which immunizes union members against prosecution for certain criminal actions taken during a labor dispute. In theory, this ensures the rights of workers to protest unfair labor practices. But what happens if those workers go too far? In a House Memoranda, Marsico pointed to the example of Philadelphia’s Ironworkers, a number of whom were indicted for arson, assault and racketeering. “In each case,” Marsico wrote, “the grand jury found evidence of intimidation and threats toward the property owners and non-union workers which preceded the later acts of violence, all protected by these loopholes in the Crimes Code.”

Currently, the Crimes Code sections on stalking, harassment and threat to use weapons of mass destruction do not apply “to conduct by a party to a labor dispute.” The definition of a “labor dispute” is laid out in Pennsylvania’s Labor Anti-Injunction Act: Read more »

Al Roker Meets Johnny Doc’s Union on the Today Show


Last week, we told you about a letter that Johnny Doc’s Local 98 union sent to the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that NBC 10 committed a “serious security breach” by having its fill-in cameramen fraudulently gain access to papal events. (The cameramen and other technicians are on strike; NBC10 denied the union’s claim). And on Wednesday, Local 98 continued to do that thing that it does, sending protestors to the set of the Today show on NBC. Read more »

Local 98 Picketer Charged in Incident at NBC10 Studio

The scene outside NBC10's studio in Bala Cynwyd after a Local 98 picketer was allegedly struck by a car being driven by an NBC10 employee.

The scene outside NBC10’s studio in Bala Cynwyd after a Local 98 picketer was allegedly struck by a car being driven by an NBC10 employee.

Last week, Local 98 union head John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty told Philadelphia magazine that two union members were “assaulted” by cars on the picket line outside NBC 10’s studio along City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd. And now the Lower Merion Police Department says that no charges have been filed against either of the accused drivers, but a picketer has been charged in one of the incidents. Read more »

WATCH: Ratmobile Invokes Pope Francis Outside Comcast Center

Last Thursday, NBC 10’s technicians and photographers went on strike. On Friday, IBEW Local 98 leader John Dougherty said two union members picketing were hit by cars driven by NBC 10 employees. Later that night, the Giant Inflatable Union Rat was spotted outside the Comcast Center.

Today, it’s back. And along with it, an appearance of the Union Ratmobile, an actual car tricked out to make it look like a rat. And they have a message for Comcast. Read more »

NBC10 Strike: John Dougherty Says Two Union Members Hit By Cars on Picket Line


This photo provided to Philadelphia magazine shows the emergency response to an alleged incident today at NBC 10’s Bala Cynwyd studios.

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While most of the local news stations in Philadelphia are already stretched to their limit covering the pope, NBC10 is experiencing a completely different level of chaos thanks to a strike at the station that began on Thursday. And now IBEW Local 98 union head John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty says that the situation has turned violent. Read more »

BizFeed: Sledgehammer-Wielding Leader of Ironworkers’ Late-Night Raids Gets Prison Time

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

1. Ironworker Gets 5-Year Prison Sentence

The NewsChristopher Prophet, the 44-year-old Ironworkers Local 401 business agent, has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a systematic scheme to sabotage non-union construction sites in late-night raids. Prophet pleaded guilty to conspiracy and extortion. Read more »

BizFeed: Amtrak Passengers Stuck After Crew “Ran Out of Hours”


Still in Delaware? Yup. arvitalyaa/Shutterstock

1. Amtrak Passengers Stuck in Delaware After Crew “Ran Out of Hours”

The News: On it’s trip from New York to Washington D.C., an Amtrak train surprisingly screeched to a stop just before the Newark, Del. station. Then the waiting began. Turns out, Amtrak’s crew had “run out of hours” and needed another crew to relieve them. It took one hour and 12 minutes before the new crew arrived and the train got moving again. Read more »

The Brief: Shane Montgomery’s Mom Presses for More Surveillance Cameras in Philly

Shane Montgomery

Shane Montgomery

1. The mother of Shane Montgomery testified in favor of a bill that would beef up the number of surveillance cameras in the city.

The gist: Last year, 21-year-old college student Shane Montgomery apparently drowned in the Schuylkill River after drinking at Kildaire’s Irish Pub in Manayunk. Kildaire’s did not have a working outdoor camera, and Montgomery’s body wasn’t discovered until weeks after his death. In the wake of the tragedy, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. introduced a bill in February to require all city establishments that serve alcohol to install a surveillance camera outside. NewsWorks reports that Montgomery’s mother, Karen, told Council on Monday, “I have no delusions that any camera would have saved my Shane. However, I am convinced without a doubt that had video shown his direction upon leaving his last stop, the suffering endured during searches without direction would have been lessened.” Read more »

Could Philly Newspapers Survive a Strike?

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

Philadelphia’s two major daily papers — the Inquirer and Daily News, along with their online cousin Philly.com — have survived one calamity after another over the past decade: A radical decline in revenues and circulation, bankruptcy, repeated changes of ownership and repeated airings of dirty laundry.

But can they survive a strike by the Newspaper Guild?

As others have noted, newspaper strikes used to hit this town all the time. But that was back when the newspaper industry was relatively flush. These days? Not so much the case. Yes, employees at Philadelphia Media Network are getting a profit-sharing check this year, but nobody would argue that the business, in Philly and elsewhere, is anything but fragile, and perhaps brittle.

Which raises a question for the journalists, ad sales personnel, circulation and support staffers who are now contemplating walking off the job: Would they have a job to return to?

Outside observers aren’t so sure. Read more »

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