By Joe Holden


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A key meeting took place Wednesday for building and construction trade officials. The meeting took place as a cloud hangs over organized labor leader John Dougherty, who spoke for the first time since he was indicted just days ago on a long list of federal charges.

Dougherty said everything was good and the meeting was routine, but the questions quickly grew old for the embattled IBEW 98 business manager.

Federal prosecutors cast the situation this way: If convicted, Dougherty and his union-connected co-defendants — including city council majority leader Bobby Henon — could face decades locked away.

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On Wednesday morning, Dougherty was joined by the company of the building and construction trades leaders.

It’s been widely suggested Dougherty’s legal troubles spell concern among some members. None would comment on the record to CBS3.

IBEW spokesman Frank Keel swatted down such talk.

“As of this moment, the building trades, Local 98 stands squarely behind John Dougherty 100 percent, 100 percent behind John Dougherty,” Keel said. “There’s been no dissension in the ranks.”

“The building trades are the best in town,” Dougherty said leaving the meeting.

A union source present at the meeting tells CBS3 support for Dougherty was strong.

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But sources question if such support can be sustained given the glaring spotlight of federal prosecutors.

“I’m on my way, great meeting today,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty repeatedly told Eyewitness News it was a great meeting with no questions of his leadership.

All of the defendants in the indictment have pleaded not guilty.