UNION LEADERS Plead Guilty to Arson, Violence and Extortion
Three more union workers pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, extortion and racketeering.
The three union members were among twelve people charged in this case.
All but one have pleaded guilty. Ironworkers 401 allegedly used violence and intimidation to get union members assigned to jobs at nonunion work sites.
Three more members of Ironworkers Local 401 in Philadelphia pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of conspiracy, extortion, and racketeering in an ongoing RICO case against the labor union. They join eight others who have pleaded guilty in recent months to charges related to arson, sabotage, and violent intimidation of contractors who used non-union labor.
Ironworkers 401 is a large and influential union, responsible for constructing many of Philadelphia’s landmarks, such as Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagle’s football stadium, and the Comcast Center, the city’s tallest building. But this year has brought a series of indictments and revelations that continue to produce serious fallout for the labor group and its allies.
The latest hit came on Tuesday, when union member Richard Ritchie and business agents William O’Donnell and Christopher Prophet entered plea agreements admitting to their role in a conspiracy to coerce non-union construction sites into using “unwanted, unnecessary, and superfluous union labor.”
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Prophet also pleaded to attempted extortion and Ritchie to attempted extortion and violent crime in aid of racketeering. In February, over 100 federal agents and police descended on Ironworkers Local 401, one of the biggest and most powerful unions in the Philadelphia area, sweeping up officials and members alleged to be part of the conspiracy. The federal indictment spans over 60 pages, alleging a coordinated effort by a network of union associates to locate and identify construction projects that used non-union workers (or the rival carpenters’ union) to do “ironwork.”