BizFeed: Sledgehammer-Wielding Leader of Ironworkers’ Late-Night Raids Gets Prison Time
1. Ironworker Gets 5-Year Prison Sentence
The News: Christopher 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.
The Philadelphia Inquirer provides some pretty scary details:
And unlike the other business agents who have already been sentenced in the case, Prophet never asked members under his command – men he often recruited from the union’s apprentice school and softball team – to do anything he was not willing to do himself. His weapon of choice was a sledgehammer, wielded to sabotage building sites for a King of Prussia Toys R Us store in 2010 and a nursing home in Horsham in 2012.
“If they were going to put their lives in harm’s way, I thought it was my sworn duty as their leader to be there with them,” he said Thursday.
Why It Matters: It’s the 11th of 12 Ironworkers to be sentenced, leaving only union chief Joseph Doherty left. While the Ironworkers tactics are extreme, it’s a sign that the nature of union culture has got to modernize. It’s ok to compete for jobs, and even protest if you didn’t get the work — but setting fire to a Quaker meetinghouse and creating a culture where the most violent and intimidating workers allegedly get the best jobs? That behavior needs to be punished.