According to the indictment, violence was not the isolated actions of a few rogue union members, but a longstanding practice approved by top union officials.

Those arrested include Joseph Dougherty, the union’s business manager. Prosecutors said Dougherty, 72, of Philadelphia, coordinated the campaign of extortion and sabotage and William O’Donnell, 61, of Cherry Hill, N.J. Both men face a racketeering conspiracy charge, while Dougherty also was charged with various arson counts.

The indictment said union officials even created a “goon” squad that called itself T.H.U.G.S short for The Helpful Union Guys, to carry out the alleged assaults and property destruction against non-union contractors in an attempt for force them to hire local union workers.

The Associated Press reported: “The indictment’s allegations appear to back up longstanding complaints by developers over union tactics in Philadelphia, a city that is home to powerful trade unions and has a long history of organized labor.”

Another longstanding complaint against the city’s politically-powerful trade unions by African-American business and community leaders is the local trade unions discriminate against African Americans. The city’s political leadership has been both silent and ineffective in addressing this issue.

The city’s political and business leaders should speak out against the alleged thug tactics of the local ironworkers union and send it a clear message that while Philadelphia may be a strong union town, violence and intimidation will not be tolerated.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)

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