But Controversial 1973 High Court Ruling May Derail Prosecution
More than two-and-a-half years after they allegedly led a savage assault on tradesmen employed at a church-owned construction site in northwestern Indiana, two officers of AFL-CIO-affiliated Iron Workers Local 395 have finally been charged with violating the federal Hobbs Anti-Extortion Act.
During the assault, union goons are accused of having thrown to the ground Scott Kudingo, an employee of the Cary, Ill.-based firm D5 Iron Works Inc., and then “clubbing, kicking and punching” him “in the face, arms, back and body.”
Mr. Kudingo’s jaw was “shattered and broken in two other places.”
And at least some of the union toughs who kicked him in the face and back are believed to have been wearing “steel toe boots.”
As journalist Connor Wolf explained in a February 2017 report for Inside Sources, based in part on witness statements taken by the police right after the incident, there is ample evidence that top officers of Local 395, based in Portage, Ind., participated in the church attack.
Cell Phone Photos Taken by Victims Show Local 395-Owned Cars at the Scene
Witness after witness ID’d Local 395 President Jeffrey Veach and Business Agent Thomas Williamson Sr., joined by roughly 10 henchmen, as having attacked D5 Iron Works tradesmen at the construction site in Dyer, Ind.
Moreover, photographs taken by the victims with their cell phones show at least two vehicles registered with Local 395 as owner were parked at the scene during the attack.
During their initial court appearances this August 16, Mr. Veach and Mr. Williamson (who retired from his post as a union business agent in March 2016) pleaded not guilty and were released on bond.
But rather than testify about what they were supposedly doing on the afternoon of January 7, 2016, other than leading an attack on union-free construction employees, they have already repeatedly invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves.
The Dyer Police Department investigated the assault complaints against Local 395 bosses and other union militants, but it has never taken any action against the alleged assailants.
Instead, Dyer law enforcement turned the case over to the U.S. Labor and Justice Departments.
As long as the Obama Administration appointees continued to occupy key positions in these two agencies, the federal criminal probe of the extortionate violence used against D5 Iron Works employees and the company itself seemed to make little progress.
But late this summer, Mr. Veach and Mr. Williamson were at last indicted for conspiring “to obstruct, delay, and affect commerce, and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce, by extortion . . . .”
Screaming ‘This Is 395’s Territory!’ Union Thugs ‘Shattered’ Tradesman’s Jaw
Prior to the middle of August, the only charges faced by Local 395 kingpins in connection with the church assault stemmed from a federal civil suit filed by D5 Iron Works, its owner, Mr. Kudingo, and other tradesmen.
According to the amended complaint filed by the plaintiffs in D5 Iron Works v. Iron Workers Local 395 last year, on January 6, 2016, one day before the assault occurred, Mr. Williamson intruded on the site where the Plum Creek Christian Academy (PCCA) was being expanded.
Mr. Williamson ignored an admonition from D5 Iron Works President Richard Lindner, who was then operating a crane on the site, to leave because he was interfering with business operations and trespassing.
Undeterred, the union business agent went on to pressure Mr. Lindner to convert his union-free project into a union-only one.
When Mr. Lindner refused, Mr. Williamson walked over to the school offices of the nearby Dyer Baptist Church, which runs the academy. There, Mr. Williamson pressured Pastor Lee Atkinson to terminate D5’s contract unless it kowtowed to Local 395 bigwigs.
At roughly 3 PM the following day, according to the civil complaint, a Local 395 assault team stormed the PCCA construction site.
As the assailants proceeded to shatter Mr. Kudingo’s jaw, they allegedly screamed at him:
“This is union work! This is 395’s work! This is 395’s territory! Don’t come back!”
Violence Committed to Secure ‘Legitimate’ Union Goals Shielded From Prosecution
Mr. Lindner was able to escape by scaling a construction fence. He promptly contacted authorities.
Unfortunately, Mr. Kudingo wasn’t the only D5 employee who was battered. Iron worker Joe Weil, for example, was repeatedly beaten with wooden boards and “suffered injuries to his person, including but not limited to having a boot-shaped welt mark on his back.” (Mr. Weil has since passed away.)
Because of the criminal assault that occurred on January 6, 2016, D5 Iron Works had to cease all work on the PCCA site. Mr. Kudingo was hospitalized and had to have his jaw wired shut for roughly three months.
Today, Mr. Lindner, Mr. Kudingo, and their colleagues continue to live in fear of future Big Labor violence directed at themselves or their families.
Because D5 Iron Works is based in Illinois, and the PCCA building site is in Indiana, Local 395 officers would seemingly be prosecutable under the Hobbs Act, which prohibits the use of extortionate threats and violence in interstate commerce.
Unfortunately, 45 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial, 5-4 U.S. vEnmons decision exempted threats, vandalism and violence perpetrated to secure “legitimate” union goals from Hobbs Act prosecutions.
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:
“The legal loophole created in U.S. v. Enmons in 1973 often makes it extraordinarily difficult to prosecute union thugs.”
Right to Work Committee Pushes For Congress to Overturn Enmons Ruling
“Just last year, for example, four Teamster ruffians in Boston used Enmons to get off scot-free after being indicted and tried for threatening and assaulting the cast and crew of the TV reality show Top Chef.
“And the most the pending civil suit can do for the D5 Iron Work victims is furnish them with financial reimbursement for their medical expenses and business losses, and perhaps for their pain and suffering, plus an injunction to deter future attacks by union thugs. As welcome as such remedies are, they are not justice.”
To prevent lawless union bosses from getting away with violence and extortion in the future, the Committee and its members are now pushing for Congress to overturn the Enmons decision.
Freedom From Union Violence Measure Can Hold Union Dons To Ordinary Legal Standards
Late last year, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced H.R.4422, a common-sense reform known as the Freedom from Union Violence Act.
This measure would overturn Enmons and hold union bosses who orchestrate threats and violence accountable under the Hobbs Act.
“Because Enmons was a matter of statutory, not constitutional, interpretation, Congress retains the power to reverse it legislatively,” explained Mr. Mix.
“Committee officers are now ready to help pro-Right to Work lawmakers do that. And I am confident Committee members nationwide will readily offer their active support.”