Looks like more people are waking up to the reality that the Freedom from Union Violence Act needs to be passed now.
Last week provided a good reminder that one of the biggest sources of political violence in this country has long been and remains labor unions. The Justice Department filed racketeering and arson charges against the Ironworkers Local 401 in Philadelphia. “The defendants relied on a reputation for violence and sabotage, which had been built up in the community over many years, in order to force contractors to hire union members,” notes the FBI press release. “It is alleged that the defendants created ‘goon’ squads, composed of union members and associates, to commit assaults, -arsons, and destruction of property.”
This latest incident is part of a much broader problem of union violence in the City of Brotherly Love. The National Right to Work Committee estimates that Philadelphia has averaged 45 incidents of union violence a year for over 40 years. The media, of course, downplay the problem.
Philly union goons even boast of their violent reputation. “One person’s harassment is another person’s free-speech exercise,” Pat Gillespie, business manager for the AFL-CIO-affiliated Building and Trades Council, told National Review.
What’s disturbing is that when Gillespie equates union violence with expression, he has legal precedent on his side. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Enmons that violence and property damage done for “legitimate union objectives” are exempt from the Hobbs Act—the 1946 law designed to keep commerce from being disrupted by violence or threats.
So long as Democrats are cashing union checks and support federal laws that sanction destruction and intimidation, they have no standing to sermonize about political violence.