Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Throw 'em behind iron bars

Corrupt ironworkers are indicted.

Throw 'em behind iron bars



We lump too many folks together these days. All conservatives are not created equal, and neither are all liberals. Even better...consider unions. In their heyday and to the extent they can today, good unions ensure a safe workplace (remember how safe coal mines were before miners organized?) and can bring a living wage for the middle class. Look at how powerful America's economy was when unions are at their peak, and look at how income inequality has festered during labor's long decline.

But -- as I've said in this space before -- there are good unions and good union activities..and there are bad ones. For me, it's all about power. When unions prevent large corporations from running amok over the average working man and woman, they're awesome. But some unions accumulate power and use it to "punch down" -- intimidate small business people, that's reprehensible (These same unions are the ones that tend to enrich their inner circle, and not the rank and file.)

I hope they're forging special iron prison bars for these guys:

FBI agents arrested 10 members of the Ironworkers Local 401 union chapter Tuesday on charges they repeatedly used violent means to extort contractors and muscle out competition from nonunion workers and other organized labor groups.

Federal prosecutors allege Joseph Dougherty, the chapter's leader and business manager, encouraged members to threaten and assault contractors and their employees, damage construction equipment and commit arsons, including a December 2012 fire that setback construction at the Quaker Meeting House in Chestnut Hill.

Using a network of informers, the union allegedly kept tabs on which construction projects used nonunion labor and dispatched a group of members, referred to as "goon squads," to shakedown or threaten contractors. One such group, according to a 49-page indictment, jokingly called itself "The Helpful Union Guys," or "T.H.U.G.S."

Actually, not helpful, guys. Not helpful at all. See you in 10 years.

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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