Philly Union Boss Gets 19 Years in Prison

Joseph Dougherty, the one-time head of Philadelphia's largest ironworkers union, was sentenced to 19 years and 2 months in federal prison Monday for overseeing a years-long campaign of sabotage and intimidation of nonunion contractors.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson said he had considered the 73-year-old Dougherty's advanced age but insisted he had to impose a sentence that matched the seriousness of the crimes committed by members of Dougherty's union, Ironworker's Local 401.

"His leadership led to a lot of damage. It led to a lot of crimes and it continued the bad reputation Philadelphia has for tolerating union violence," Baylson said.


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Dougherty declined to address the judge during his hearing.

A number of supporters rallied outside the courthouse before Dougherty learned his fate.

The sentence imposed, which also included an order that he pay more than a half-million dollars in restitution, was just more than four years over the 15-year mandatory minimum sentence the union leader aced in the case. Prosecutors had pushed for a sentence of just under 23 years.

In all, 12 members of Ironworkers Local 401 were convicted of using sabotage, arson, threats and intimidation - including the 2012 torching of a Quaker Meetinghouse in Chesnut Hill - to coerce contractors into hiring union labor. Dougherty is the last defendant to be sentenced in the case.

The story was published through a news content partnership between The Philadelphia Inquirer and

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