Former union boss convicted of violence, intimidation campaign sentenced to 19 years in prison

PHILADELPHIA – A former Philadelphia union boss convicted of overseeing violence, vandalism and intimidation to get construction jobs for his members has been sentenced to more than 19 years in prison.

Seventy-three-year-old Joseph Dougherty was also ordered Monday to pay more than half a million dollars in restitution following his January conviction on charges including racketeering and extortion.

Prosecutors say Dougherty told Ironworkers Local 401 members that they were at “war” with nonunion competitors, especially as construction jobs dried up after the Great Recession.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson says he considered the defendant’s age but had to impose a sentence that matched the seriousness of the offences.

Nearly a dozen union members pleaded guilty in the case, and several testified against Dougherty.

Dougherty’s attorney says he plans to appeal the conviction and sentence.