Ironworkers 401 Indicted: Campaign Contributions In Flux

prison-barsAccording to federal prosecutors, members of the Philadelphia Ironworkers Local 401 allegedly used extensive intimidation tactics to convince construction contractors to hire unionized workers.

The Ironworkers 401 is a politically prolific union, endorsing many candidates and providing substantial financial backing. In instances like this of malfeasance from a donor, candidates are often urged to return contributions to avoid negative advertising linking them to the poor behavior of their supporter, but they are not bound to do so.

A handful of Pennsylvania politicians currently running for office this spring have received backing from the Ironworkers Local 401 union, including businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton (PA-8), State Rep. Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (PA-Gov) and Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith running for lieutenant governor.

Naughton has said that she will donate the money given to her campaign by Local 401 to charity and Schwartz has sent a donation of $10,000 to the International Association of Firefighters Charitable Foundation in response to the allegations.

Smith only received the union’s endorsement, and did not garner a donation from Local 401.

State Rep. Boyle received $10,000 from the organization, and will not be returning their contribution.

“Certainly we don’t condone any of the alleged actions of a few individuals.  But nor do we think it’s fair to impugn the reputations of the thousands of Ironworkers in this local, or the tens of thousands of hard working members of the building trades,” said Boyle.

“This alleged incident shouldn’t be used as an excuse to attack the important work unions do to reduce the growing gap between the rich and everyone else.  I’ll never back down from defending the interests of working and middle class Americans.”

Joseph Dougherty, the Local 401’s leader and business manager, is accused of supporting and encouraging the behavior of union members who allegedly sabotaged construction equipment, physically harmed non-union workers, and set fire to construction sites.

According to the FBI’s press release, the group is collectively charged with charges RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, three counts of arson, two counts of use of fire to commit a felony, and conspiracy to commit arson.

It is believed that the union assembled “goon” squads — with one group referred to as the “T.H.U.G’s,” or “The Helpful Union Guys” — to carry out their intimidation and vandalization attempts.

The list of charges and incidents of intimidation go on extensively.

Ironworkers’ international has officially denounced and distanced themselves from the crimes that Local 401 is charged with.

“We have never and will never tolerate any of the alleged acts contained in the accusations,” union president Walter W. Wise said.

If convicted, they could receive a minimum of 35 years in prison, with a maximum sentence reaching as high as 130 years.

10 Responses

  1. Its funny how many of criticize hard working union men…who give half of their paychecks back to the federal government every week in taxes….why dont they focus on the drug dealers in north philly who are running multimillion dollar corners all over the city…fox29 wouldnt dare go in the badlands and run a story on all the corrupt bs going on there

  2. Bob claims “Philly is a union city.” So, is Philly a lawless city? Kicking ass, also known as assault, is a criminal act, and those who do it are criminals. If Bob wants to go down that road, the rest of the state should pull the plug , quit spending our money in Philly, and let Philly’s unions drown in their own stew.

  3. and unions wonder why they only represent 6.5 % of the private sector working population and even this group would quit paying dues if they had the option. Unions have to learn how to sell their value.

  4. @MRM, It’s not just the construction trades that are holding the city back. Just look at the convention center. Also, it’s interesting that a federal prosecutor brought these charges. I guess Seth Williams is resting on his laurels of deciding to prosecute a case that was gift wrapped for him by Fox29.

  5. The construction union monopoly is strangling Philadelphia. Building costs are almost as high as NYC, while rents are much lower. To build something in Philly everybody gets tax abatements. Then people wonder why the School District does not have money and must get more from the State. I am sick of the State and suburban taxpayers having to subsidize these overpaid thugs. I do commend the prosecutors that went after these thugs.

  6. Everybody knows philly is a union city.Those scabs who got their asses kicked,they should Know better. Scabs stay out in Kentucky not in philly non-union skanks

  7. I am not condoning the acts of these men, but the general public needs to realize these Iron Workers Live and pay taxes were they are working, many loosing there jobs to illegal immigrants who work under the table. The feds should be cracking down on prevaling wage laws and safety laws. I find it hard to believe that Union leaders organized acts of physical harm. Members who are loosing jobs to illegals might take matters into their own hands.

  8. Enough with all the pretense, Brendan Boyle . Come out and say that all you care about is your career. First running for multiple seats and then this. He should be ashamed.

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