For years, Big Labor has been tied to allegations of corruption and cronyisms. Yesterday was another black–eye for Big Labor, and specifically the Ironworkers Union. On the fifth day of deliberations, a Philadelphia jury returned guilty verdicts against former Ironworker’s Union leader, Joseph Dougherty, on charges of racketeering, conspiracy, arson and extortion. The verdicts stem from charges alleging the former Ironworker leader conspired with other Union members to carry out violence and extort non-union contractors.
Although Dougherty wasn’t alleged to have actually committed acts of violence or arson personally, it was alleged he knowingly used such tactics to force non-union contractors to hire Ironworker members. Some of the evidence against Dougherty was quite explicit about such tactics being sanctioned by the Union and even contained actual references to destroying non-union construction sites. The convictions carry with them a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years which all but assures that Dougherty, who is rumored to be in poor health, will serve significant time in prison. In all, ten members of Ironworkers Local 401 had been indicted. All of them previously pled guilty.
Unfortunately, yesterday’s verdict represents just another example of what sometimes is the dark underbelly of organized labor and alleged mob-like inspired tactics being perpetrated by union members and leadership.