New leader for embattled Ironworkers Local

Posted: February 26, 2014

The parent organization of Philadelphia's embattled ironworkers union has chosen New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney to oversee operations, after the arrest last week of several top leaders on federal racketeering charges.

According to an internal memo obtained Monday by The Inquirer, Sweeney, a Democrat, was appointed administrator of Ironworkers Local 401 on Wednesday and has assumed control of the union's day-to-day operations.

Ironworkers International, the local's parent organization, removed all current leadership from office, pending financial and operational reviews, the document said.

Sweeney, the son of a union boss, currently serves as general vice president for Ironworkers International.

"We are focused completely on regaining the trust of our business partners and the public here in Philadelphia - and on ensuring that professionalism and ethical conduct are the driving force at Local No. 401," said Walter W. Wise, the organization's president.

Sweeney's appointment came in the wake of a sweeping federal indictment that led to the arrest last week of 10 top officials, including union chief Joseph Dougherty and business agent Edward Sweeney, who is not related to the senator.

Prosecutors say the group waged a years-long campaign to intimidate contractors with extortion, sabotage, and threats of violence. All of the indicted union members have pleaded not guilty.



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