Opinion

Philadelphia union 'THUGs' arrested on charges of arson, intimidation

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Charlie Spiering,Labor unions

Ten union members of Ironworkers Local 401 union in Philadelphia were arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiracy, extortion, arson, destruction of property, and assault under federal racketeering statutes.

According to the FBI indictment, members of the union ganged up in "goon squads" to intimidate contractors to hire union labor.

The indictment notes that one of the squads referred to itself as “'The Helpful Union Guys', or THUGs."

The group allegedly assaulted nonunion workers with baseball bats, set a crane on fire at a construction site and sabotaged projects by cutting 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. “Union officials and members who commit arson, destroy property, use threats of physical harm, and engage in other acts of violence to extort victims on behalf of their union need to be criminally prosecuted. Today’s indictment makes that clear.”

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