Jury Finds Former Ironworkers Boss Joseph Dougherty Guilty

He faces a minimum of 15 years in the slammer.

A federal grand jury on Tuesday found Joseph Dougherty, the 73-year-old former leader of the Ironworkers Local 401, guilty of racketeering conspiracy, using fire to commit a felony, and other charges.

Of the 12 defendants in the racketeering case, Dougherty was the only one who did not plead guilty.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office released the following statement on the jury’s decision:

Joseph Dougherty, 73, of Philadelphia, former Secretary/Business Manager of Local 401, was found guilty today, by a federal grand jury, of racketeering conspiracy and other charges connected to a dozen members of Ironworkers Local 401. The jury returned guilty verdicts on the counts of RICO conspiracy, malicious damage to property by means of fire, use of fire to commit a felony, attempted malicious damage to property by means of fire, and conspiracy to damage to property by means of fire. The 11 co-defendants in the case pleaded guilty. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Baylson scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 29th.

The indictment details incidents in which the defendants threatened or assaulted contractors or their employees, and damaged construction equipment and job sites as part of a concerted effort to force contractors to hire and pay Local 401 workers, even when those workers performed no function.

The defendants had a network of individuals, friendly to the Ironworkers Local 401, to help identify construction projects and job sites where work was being performed without using Local 401 members. The business agents would approach construction foremen at those work sites and imply or explicitly threaten violence, destruction of property, or other criminal acts unless union members were hired. The defendants relied on a reputation for violence and sabotage, which had been built up in the community over many years, in order to force contractors to hire union members. The defendants created “goon” squads, composed of union members and associates, to commit assaults, arsons, and destruction of property. One such squad referred to itself as the “The Helpful Union Guys,” “T.H.U.G’s.”

Dougherty faces a sentence of between 15 and 110 years, according to federal prosecutors. A judge has scheduled his sentencing hearing for April 29th.