Indiana Beating: Union Officers Plea Guilty in Iron Workers “Old School” Melee Outside Church-run School

The Center on National Labor Policy’s clients must feel some justice has now been done because two Iron Workers union goons recently copped a plea deal.  Local 395 president and head thug Thomas Williamson, Sr. organized and lead a vicious melee assaulting workers on a Dyer Baptist Church construction project.  The injuries were serious, and one victim has subsequently died.

Flashback: Iron Workers in another state burned down a church building.

Interestingly, on the same day these regional Iron Workers’ officials pleaded guilty, the Iron Workers union endorsed Joe Biden.  Will Joe denounce the “old school” beat down practices of the Iron Workers union?

Whether Biden does or not, it will not change the lives of the victims, their family, and the school children who saw the bloody attack.  Union President Williamson describes the violent actions below:

On January 7, 2016, within the Northern District of Indiana, I knowingly and intentionally agreed and conspired with my co-defendant, Jeffrey Veach, and others, to use actual and threatened violence to obtain contracts for the union in which I served as an officer, Ironworkers Local 395. Through my actions, I sought to obtain for Local 395 a labor contract with D5 Iron Works, an Illinois steelworking company (“D5”), and/or a business contract with Lagestee-Mulder, an Illinois construction company. Prior to January 7, I had learned that D5 was working on a construction project for Dyer Baptist Church in Dyer, Indiana, which is in Local 395’s “territory.” I also knew that D5 was not signed up to a labor contract with Local 395.

On the afternoon of January 6, I visited the church jobsite in order to talk to the owner of D5 and convince him to “sign up” with Local 395 or stop work on the job. The owner refused and told me I was trespassing on the site. I then went across the street to the Dyer Baptist Church to persuade the church to stop work on the site and use union labor instead.

Iron Workers Union 395 President Thomas Williamson, Sr.

I told a church employee that using non-union labor was “unethical,” and that the Church should use “my guys” instead. On the morning of January 7, I returned to the jobsite with Veach, and again insisted that D5 join the union or stop work on the site. When the owner of D5 refused, I became angry, calling him a “c**t” and a “scab bas***d” and grabbing his jacket. I also said that we were going to have to “take things back to old school.”

By “old school,” I meant committing acts of violence against D5 and its workers.

Iron Workers Union 395 President Thomas Williamson, Sr.
Beaten victim’s back shows numerous blows.

Veach and I then gathered up rank-and-file members of Local 395 to return to the jobsite that afternoon. Local 395 members attacked the D5 workers and beat them with our fists and loose pieces of hardwood, kicking them while they were on the ground. As a result of the attack, one D5 worker sustained serious bodily injury in the form of a broken jaw, that required several surgeries, extended hospitalization, and medical treatment.

Iron Workers Union 395 President Thomas Williamson, Sr.

Veach and I initiated the confrontation and did not act in self-defense or “mutual combat.” The purpose of the attack was to intimidate D5 and the general contractor, in order to get the D5 workers off the site and to get Local 395 ironworkers onto the site to complete the job. I believed that the confrontation, and/or my earlier threats, would result in obtaining a contract for Local 395 workers to complete the Church project.

Iron Workers Union 395 President Thomas Williamson, Sr.

Williamson, who organized an assault on people hard at work, explaining what is “unethical” to church personnel would seem laughable, but this was no laughing matter. 

But now Williamson and Leach will soon be ordered to serve time and begin facing their victims’ civil suit being argued by the Center on National Labor Policy ( along with local counsel.

An important lesson here is that unions still consider intimidation and violence as legitimate organizing tools.  It is time to pass the Freedom of Union Violence Act (HR-4256) which eliminates unions exemptions from the Hobbs Anti-Extortion Act.

It is time to hold union bosses responsible for their actions; and, hopefully end this Big Labor Bosses’ mentality of union compulsion at any cost.

Here is a link to the Center on National Labor Policy and these plea deals.