Business Owner Accuses Local Union of Bullying, Intimidation

A local business developer and restaurant owner is speaking out, after claiming he now fears for his safety due to alleged bullying from a local union.

Ken Weinstein, owner of the Trolley Car Diner in Mount Airy, told NBC10 that members of the Electrical Union IBEW Local 98 show up to his business nearly every day to bully and intimidate him.

“At one point they made personal threats to me and my family,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein claims the alleged bullying began after he started renovating the former Saint Peters Church in Germantown in order to turn it into a private school.

“We bid out the electrical work to three contractors, one of which was a union contractor,” he said. “They did not get the job so IBEW showed up at the diner.”

Weinstein says union members began to protest outside his business. During one incident, Weinstein claims he went outside along with his 12-year-old son to make peace with the protesters.

“When we went outside to serve them donuts and coffee, one of the protesters responded by saying, ‘we know where you live and we’ll visit you,’” Weinstein said.

Weinstein says he immediately filed a police complaint and investigators took down the personal information of the protesters. No one was ever arrested or charged for the alleged threat however.

NBC10 reached out to IBEW Local. John Dougherty, the business manager of the union, released the following statement:

"Ken Weinstein is a greedy profiteer. IBEW Local 98 is conducting a peaceful, lawful protest at his businesses because he is violating area wages and benefit standards…   Weinstein is a fraud and has been put on legal notice to cease and desist with his lies about Local 98."

Weinstein insists that he’s telling the truth about the alleged threats.

“When you’re not looking closely they block the drive way and stop traffic from coming down Germantown Avenue,” he said. “We have called the police a number of times when we believed that the unions have crossed the line and the police have responded with citations.”

Weinstein claims it all stems from his initial decision to not hire the union contractor.

“I think John Dougherty and IBEW are trying to harass and bully me into hiring their friends and relatives instead of local residents of Northwest Philadelphia,’ he said.

The Union insists the members never threatened Weinstein and have not done anything illegal.

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