Government doesn’t always tyrannize us by its own soldiers. Sometimes it simply refuses to see when one group in society dominates and exploits another group.
From Philly.com: “10 leaders of Ironworkers Local 401 charged in racketeering indictment.”
They called themselves “the Helpful Union Guys” – “THUGS” for short – and woe awaited any contractor who dared cross them by hiring non-organized workers.
For, federal authorities alleged Tuesday, this “goon squad” of members of Ironworkers Local 401 set fires, started riots, and took crowbars to the competition in an effort to protect union jobs.
FBI agents arrested 10 of the union’s leaders Tuesday morning, including longtime head Joseph Dougherty, in a racketeering conspiracy case that appeared to affirm long-standing business complaints over the tactics employed by Philadelphia unions.
Prosecutors alleged that Dougherty and others have cost contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars over at least three years, and were indiscriminate in choosing their targets – equally willing to break skulls with baseball bats at a Toys R Us work site in King of Prussia or torch a Quaker meetinghouse under construction in Chestnut Hill.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said at a news conference announcing the arrests.
But not all local politicians seem to have the same feelings. Two returned contributions from the union.
One candidate, though – State Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 13th District – defended the ironworkers’ contribution of $10,000 to his campaign last year.
“Certainly we don’t condone any of the alleged actions of a few individuals,” Boyle said in a statement. “But 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.”
No we don’t condone it. We just look the other way, take the money, and promote economic scam theories that justify coercion.
Here’s another example of criminal behavior that is permitted “to reduce the growing gap between the rich and everyone else,” allegedly. And it isn’t restricted to Philadelphia. Katie Packer Gage writes at Philly.com:
There is something gravely wrong in our nation when government sanctions the intimidation and bullying of one group of people by another. But that’s exactly what is happening in Pennsylvania.
Sarina Rose, an executive vice president for development for Post Brothers Apartments, was stalked and harassed by union organizers. Protesters persistently followed her throughout her private life, even taking photos of her children, ages 8 and 11, at their bus stop in Abington. The situation dramatically escalated when “one union leader loudly cursed at her in front of a packed restaurant and mimicked shooting her,” according to an Inquirer report last month.
What had Rose done wrong? Nothing, but she was part of a company that elected to hire a mix of union as well as nonunion labor to complete a construction job.
It turns out that this kind of behavior is completely legal. Parties in labor disputes have immunity from normal laws against stalking or making threats. When the Pennsylvania state legislature tried to change it, the Fraternal Order of Police vehemently objected. Cops have the thugs’ backs.
Which is why openly criminal behavior continues to go on for years and years. National Review’s Jillian Kay Melchior wrote about a union payback scheme (see the video above). The corruption was the reason for her investigation, but the sheer level of violence and fear is amazing.
Tucked deep in a South Philadelphia neighborhood that decorates for St. Patrick’s Day the way other places do for Christmas, there stands a bar that’s locally notorious for underage drinking and random brutality.
On a sunny afternoon in March, I tried unsuccessfully to visit; conflicting hours were reported online, and all phone numbers I could find for the bar had been disconnected. But when I asked a young woman who lived nearby whether the pub was safe to check out later that evening, she refused to answer directly but repeatedly recommended I go to a bar down the street instead. Another neighbor later tells me by phone that he was almost jumped outside the bar once — he had spoken out when a drunk man flicked a cigarette into his chest as he rode his bicycle past— but makes me promise not to mention his name.
Yelp reviewers are less reticent: “I saw a bunch of regulars/locals beat up a few other guys just because they weren’t locals and therefore weren’t welcome,” wrote one woman last year. “I saw the bartender get involved and violently throw the non-locals out on the street. One guy was beat so bad he was taken away in an ambulance. It was truly horrific.”
Welcome to Doc’s Union Pub, an establishment owned and operated by the top brass of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, one of the most powerful construction unions in Philadelphia.
This stuff is not hidden. It is out in the open. And you know it can only exist with the help of what we euphemistically call “law enforcement.” Don’t be confused by all the violence. The real business model is the bribing of officials to allow the crimes to continue. These are the kinds of criminals that don’t hide from government, but hide behind government.
I have to give credit to the FBI for doing something about some of the worst offenses. But it is not enough.
Hat tip: Mish