Feds raid Ironworkers Union headquarters; 10 arrested

PHILADELPHIA - February 18, 2014

The United States Attorney in Philadelphia released a sweeping indictment Tuesday of Ironworkers Local Union 401, which is based in Northeast Philadelphia. Ten members, including the union's top leadership, have been arrested.

Only Action News was there Tuesday morning as FBI agents raided the union headquarters, carting off boxes of documents linked to the investigation.

"They were not shy about using violence and they physically beat people. They used arson to intimidate builders and contractors to see to their demands," said Zane Memeger, U.S. Attorney.

Union boss Joe Dougherty was among 10 men arrested, including most of the union's top brass.

Authorities say Dougherty was in complete control of the union's legal and illegal business. Only Action News was there as Dougherty left federal court after posting bail.

Action News asked him what he thought about the charges.

"I'm as surprised as you are," said Dougherty.

Surveillance video allegedly shows three of the defendants doing what they called "night work." They allegedly used baseball bats to beat non-union workers at a construction site in King of Prussia.

Investigators have documented 11 incidents in which, they say, union goons intimidated and beat people who hired non-union workers.

In some cases they also allegedly resorted to arson and vandalism.

Only Action News was there as federal agents carted off box loads of potential evidence.

Dougherty and four others face mandatory minimum sentences of 35 years.

Action News asked Dougherty about the possible sentence.

"I'll be dead before then," he said.

Investigators apparently used wiretaps and other surveillance to record conversations between the suspects.

Authorities say this is an ongoing investigation that goes back many years, and they are looking for more victims to come forward.

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