Philly Ironworkers Hit With RICO SuitBen James of Law360 ($$) writes that 10 members of Philadelphia Ironworkers Local 401 (the union) have been charged with various crimes relating to their attempts to coerce contractors into hiring union labor.  Those charges range from racketeering to arson. 

“While unions have the right to legally advocate on behalf of their members, my office will not tolerate the conduct of those who use violence to further union goals,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. “Union officials and members who commit arson, destroy property, use threats of physical harm, and engage in other acts of violence to extort victims on behalf of their union need to be criminally prosecuted.”

The charges further allege that if union pickets did not achieve the desired result, the defendants would also engage in acts of vandalism and assault to get contractors to hire fellow union members.  We will keep you posted as this matter moves forward.

UAW Goes Down Hard At VW writes that the United Auto Workers (UAW) suffered a major setback last week when Volkswagen employees working at the automaker’s Chattanooga, TN plant voted against unionizing.  The vote was close, with 626 workers voting for unionization and 712 voting against it. 

The UAW may potentially appeal the voting results, particularly because of comments made by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in the days leading up to the vote.  We will certainly keep you posted.

Seattle School Bus Drivers Issue Strike ThreatJohn Higgins of the Seattle Times writes that Teamsters Local 174 (the union) has issued a statement saying that its 450 bus drivers working in Seattle school districts are prepared to strike.  The strike threat comes on the heels of failed negotiations concerning sick leave and health care premiums.  While the union has made its threat known, no one has stated when the strike would begin.  We will keep you posted on any pertinent developments.

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