Tuesday, November 03, 2015

New PA law would crack down on union violence

By Evan Grossman

PHILADELPHIA — When a developer built a condo here using some non-union workers three years ago, the neighborhood saw months of union violence and protests that included slashed tires, sabotage and fistfights.

Because of a loophole in Pennsylvania law, that violent behavior was actually allowed to happen.

The Goldtex shoe factory at 12th and Wood streets was characterized by union protests. The months-long siege included instances of harassment, bullying, intimidation and even physical violence. The Post Brothers, the project’s developers, documented it all.

Sarina Rose, a Post Brothers executive, was stalked by union workers. They took pictures of her kids and taunted her at a restaurant, with one even threatening to shoot her, according to testimony. But because this all happened during a labor dispute, there was little legal recourse, and a judge dismissed the case because of the loophole.

“When you walk in, as a vice president of a company, to a restaurant full of union workers,” Municipal Judge Charles Hayden said in court, “you’re going to hear some things that you should have expected to hear.”

Jim Kenney was a councilman at the time and dismissed complaints about what was happening at the site. He also appeared in a documentary, “Deconstructing Post Brothers: Exposing the Truth Behind the Cheap Façade,” which accused the developers of skirting city building codes.

Tuesday, Kenney, behind the political support of those same unions, is expected to be elected the next mayor of Philadelphia. His campaign has failed to respond to multiple requests to comment on union harassment, including his siding with the unions during that ugly labor dispute.

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