Via Neema Roshania:
According to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday, 10 members of Ironworkers Local 401 were charged with “allegedly participating in a conspiracy to commit criminal acts of extortion, arson, destruction of property, and assault, in order to force construction contractors to hire union ironworkers.”
“Specifically, the indictment charges RICO 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,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “Among the criminal acts set forth in the indictment is the December 2012 arson of a Quaker Meetinghouse under construction in” Chestnut Hill.
The indictment alleged that after the Quaker Meeting House contractor refused to hire union ironworkers, three of the defendants “set a crane on fire and cut steel beams and bolts.”
“While unions have the right to legally advocate on behalf of their members, my office will not tolerate the conduct of those who use violence to further union goals,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. “The strong-arm tactics we have seen in this case are outrageous and brazen, and an unfortunate blow to the worthy intentions of unionism.”
The Philadelphia Building Trades Council is not really so much a union as a medieval guild. It’s not a progressive organization. They regularly endorse and work for Republican candidates, and their main “contribution” to economic life in Philadelphia is making housing and offices too expensive for people making the area median income to afford.