House Bill Would Criminalize Union Goons’ Violent Actions

‘Substantive action is necessary toward seriously addressing the continuing occurrence of union violence in order to protect rank-and-file workers…’

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Francis Rooney / IMAGE: EWTN

(Dan E. Way, Liberty Headlines) Federal legislation has been introduced to protect rank-and-file workers from violent union goons.

Two-term Congressman Francis Rooney, R-Fla., introduced H.R. 4256, the Freedom from Union Violence Act,in the House of Representatives on Monday.

Rooney is a co-owner of a family group of construction, real-estate development, finance and electronics-manufacturing companies.

The bill, which was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, prohibits interference in commerce by threats or violence.

It states:

“[W]hoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion, or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section, shall be fined not more than $100,000, imprisoned for a term of not more than 20 years, or both.”

The National Right to Work Committee, representing 2.8 million non-union workers, has called on Congress to pass the legislation.

“Substantive action is necessary toward seriously addressing the continuing occurrence of union violence in order to protect rank-and-file workers across America,” Greg Mourad, the organization’s vice president, said in a press release.

Mourad said a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision held that strike-related violence “used to gain legitimate union objectives” cannot be prosecuted under the Hobbs Anti-Extortion Act even though that bill’s authors sought to criminalize such behavior.

“As a result, thousands of acts of union violence, much of which is directed against non-striking workers, go unpunished,” he said.

Mourad said the National Institute for Labor Relations Research has recorded almost 10,000 media-reported incidents of union violence since 1975.

“Experts on labor and strike-related violence estimate that unreported acts of harassment, vandalism, and violence could swell that figure to 100,000 or more,” Mourad said.

One recent example of union intimidation and coercion occurred at an Alabama Sysco Foods plant when Teamsters union members forcefully stole petitions from workers opposing unionization efforts.

Violent Boston Teamster union members also harassed and threatened the cast and crew of the reality TV show Top Chef , but were not convicted because of the Hobbs Act loophole.