By Robin Culverwell
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – More charges have been filed against members of the Ironworkers Local 401, alleging they damaged work sites where non-union construction workers were hired.
A federal grand jury has returned two additional counts of “extortion which interferes with interstate commerce” against members of Local 401 along with 14 additional crimes in connection with racketeering charges.
Federal Prosecutors say the ten defendants worked as part of a “shadow gang,” which would vandalize buildings under construction where non-union workers were employed, using sledgehammers to damage equipment and beams and in some cases starting fires. Authorities say this was done in an effort to force contractors to hire union workers.
The buildings include elementary schools in Wallingford and Sharon Hill, a firehouse in Eddystone, and an a house of worship in Philadelphia where damage was estimated at $500,000.
Each of the defendants could face significant prison terms if convicted.