Former Ironworkers Boss Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison

Joseph Dougherty had been convicted of leading a campaign of intimidation against non-union work sites.

Joseph Dougherty, the former Ironworkers boss convicted earlier this year of leading a union campaign of intimidation against non-unionized workplaces, was sentenced Monday to 19 years in prison.

NewsWorks reports Dougherty was also ordered to pay $558,000 in restitution.

Dougherty was convicted in January 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 before trial.

Federal prosecutors in January described the events they say occurred at Dougherty’s behest:

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.”

“It was a union that was run through criminal activity, that’s how it was operated,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Livermore told NewsWorks.. “On a weekly basis, if not a daily basis, they talked about committing crimes, committing extortion, things of that nature.”

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