Eight of 12 ironworkers to plead guilty in Philly racketeering case

 Signs of vandalism and arson were evident at the Chestnut Hill Meeting House site after the Dec. 2012 incident. The operating cabin of a construction crane was rendered useless by fire. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Signs of vandalism and arson were evident at the Chestnut Hill Meeting House site after the Dec. 2012 incident. The operating cabin of a construction crane was rendered useless by fire. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Eight of the 12 members of Ironworkers Local 401 who were charged in a Philadelphia racketeering case in February have agreed to plead guilty, according to federal prosecutors.

The other four, including the union’s longtime leader, business manager Joseph Dougherty, will face trial in January.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Livermore declined to say if those pleading guilty will testify against others in the case, but they won’t be sentenced until after the remaining four are tried.

Those originally charged included the top leaders of the Ironworkers local. They were accused of conspiring to intimidate non-union contractors, often by vandalizing their work sites and sometimes by beating non-union workers.

“They would go the construction site and use sledge hammers to smash the anchor bolts, which is part of the foundation of the construction site,” Livermore said, “causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and significantly delaying the construction project.”

Among the sites targeted was a Quaker meeting house under construction in Chestnut Hill, where prosecutors say union members used acetylene torches to cut steel beams and set fire to a crane.

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