‘I Just Want to Thank the Shadow Crew For Another Job Well Done’

Late last month, as the July 30 news story by Jason Laday for the South Jersey Times linked below explains in detail, a federal grand jury added multiple charges to an indictment issued early this year against top bosses of Local 401 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers (IW/AFL-CIO) and their militant followers.

Laday’s report quoted extensively from a passage in the superseding indictment concerning a January 20, 2012 meeting at which union business agent Francis Sean O’Donnell allegedly boasted to Local 401 chief Joe Dougherty and his cohorts about the exploits of a union goon squad known as the “shadow crew”:

“On Jan. 20, 2012, defendant Francis Sean O’Donnell allegedly reported at a general meeting of the Ironworkers Local 401, in the presence of defendants Dougherty, Sweeney, Prophet, Ritchie, and William O’Donnell, that he was ‘in negotiations’ with the contractors to hire union ironworkers, and that if the Ironworkers Local 401 does not ‘Get some men put on, they are going to run into some unsuspected delays,'” read the statement.

The account continued: “On Feb. 17, 2012, defendant O’Donnell allegedly reported this contractor failed to hire any union ironworkers, and stated ‘I just want to thank the Shadow Crew for another job well done. They were shut down for about a week and cost them about $150,000.'”

According to officials, O’Donnell further allegedly reported at the meeting that the contractor called “about a week after that,” wanting to hire union ironworkers.

Dougherty and company have sought to get the charges against them dropped on the grounds that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Enmons decision bars the prosecution of Big Labor kingpins and their henchmen for extortionate violence under the federal Hobbs Act if their misdeeds advance so-called “legitimate union objectives.”

However, the federal judge now handling the case contends that Enmons does not protect the kind of extortionate violence that allegedly occurred in Philadelphia and neighboring areas, because the employees and businesses targeted were nonunion.  Had the targeted businesses already been unionized by the Ironworkers hierarchy, the judge conceded, Enmons would indeed have exempted Joe Dougherty et al from prosecution for using violence to secure union contract demands.

Of course, National Right to Work Committee members and supporters do not believe the “legitimate union objectives” excuse should ever be a reason for exempting power-hungry Big Labor lawbreakers from obeying laws that apply to other Americans.  That’s why they are now lobbying Congress to pass the Freedom from Union Violence Act (S.2535/H.R.2021), which would close the pro-union violence loophole in the Hobbs Act opened up by the controversial 5-4 Enmons ruling.

A superseding indictment issued by a federal grand jury late last month charges that, in recent years, former Philadelphia ironworkers union czar Joe Dougherty and his cohorts systematically used “violence, arson, and other criminal conduct to force non-union contractors to use union labor . . . .” Image: Jonathan Wilson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Ironworkers Local 401 union faces additional ..