SlashedTireA press release from the FBI revealed that three union members admitted to being involved in a campaign of threats, violence, and property destruction against non-union contractors to force them to enter into a collective bargaining agreement. This almost sounds like the plot of a bad Steven Seagal movie.

The tactics used by the union members are alarming. One member stabbed a contractor in the neck, beat him up in a bar, and slashed his tires. Another sent a project manager’s wife a letter stating “we would like for the job to run as smoothly as your wedding day did . . . and as smooth as [your husband’s] nights are in the Western New York region.” The third union member admitted to putting sand into the engines and hydraulic lines of nine separate pieces of heavy equipment, causing over $240,000 in damage.

All three of the union members have agreed to testify against the seven remaining defendants, including the union’s president, the business manager, and the business agent. I also looked at the docket sheet in this case, this is the web page that shows how long the case has been around and how many documents were filed with the court. This case was filed in December, 2007, yes, just over 6 years ago. The case has over 400 filings with the court – that’s a lot for any case.

Obviously this is an egregious situation, but it also shows some of the real threats merit shop contractors face when they operate in heavily unionized areas.