PHILADELPHIA – Joseph Dougherty, 73, of Philadelphia, former Secretary/Business Manager of Local 401, was found guilty today, by a federal jury, of racketeering conspiracy and other charges connected to a dozen members of Ironworkers Local 401. The jury returned guilty verdicts on the counts of RICO conspiracy, malicious damage to property by means of fire, use of fire to commit a felony, attempted malicious damage to property by means of fire, and conspiracy to damage to property by means of fire. The 11 co-defendants in the case pleaded guilty. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Baylson scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 29, 2015.
The indictment details incidents in which the defendants threatened or assaulted contractors or their employees, and damaged construction equipment and job sites as part of a concerted effort to force contractors to hire and pay Local 401 workers, even when those workers performed no function.
The defendants had a network of individuals, friendly to the Ironworkers Local 401, to help identify construction projects and job sites where work was being performed without using Local 401 members. The business agents would approach construction foremen at those work sites and imply or explicitly threaten violence, destruction of property, or other criminal acts unless union members were hired. 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. The defendants created “goon” squads, composed of union members and associates, to commit assaults, arsons, and destruction of property. One such squad referred to itself as the “The Helpful Union Guys,” “T.H.U.G’s.”
At sentencing, Dougherty faces a mandatory minimum term of 15 years in prison up to a statutory maximum of 110 years.
The case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, with assistance provided by the Philadelphia Police Department Corruption Task Force, East Whiteland Township Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Employee Benefit Security Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Livermore with legal assistance from Gerald Toner, Acting Deputy Chief for Labor-Management Racketeering, Organized Crime and Gang Section at the Department of Justice.