Happy Wednesday, Streeters. Today promises slush thanks to a warm-up and rain, and then ice overnight. So clear your sidewalks while you can.
If you read about nothing else today, read about the federal charges brought against members of Ironworkers Local Union 401.
FBI agents arrested 10 union leaders and members of Local 401 Tuesday, after an investigation revealed union members acted as “goon squads,” intimidating employers into hiring union workers, and committing acts of violence like arson and assault. One goon squad even called itself as T.H.U.G. - The Helpful Union Guys.
Among the alleged crimes: The arson at the 2012 Chestnut Hill Meetinghouse worksite, which the investigation says was ordered by union business agent Edward Sweeney, and a 2010 incident when union men took baseball bats to nonunion workers and their trucks outside a Toys R Us near King of Prussia.
In other news:
Karen Heller caught up with District Attorney Seth Williams about the grand jury report about the Buck Hosiery Fire. Williams for his part hopes that the “failure of government” detailed in the report will result in changes to agencies like L&I and the Fire Department. Heller writes: “He is frustrated at his inability to bring charges, not only against the property owners but also against negligent city workers, ‘but I can't charge people criminally for being idiots.’ I remain less optimistic than the district attorney. In addition to money and cooperation, already in short supply, the grand jury recommendations require an embrace of progress, which has never been these agencies' strong suit.”
Christopher Dougherty takes a long look at the demise of the 25th Street Viaduct for Hidden City Daily. It was born in 1928 out of a desire to modernize the city’s industrial rail network and remove the risks caused by at-grade crossings for other vehicles. But these days hunks of concrete routinely drop into the roadway below and CSX believes that the elevated track can handle 15 trains per day, a number that could well climb thanks to oil trains from the northern Midwest.
MADE Studios, a sewing workshop in Old City, is becoming a small-scale textile production hub and classroom. Grid explores how MADE Studios has grown, incubated small product lines, taught students at all levels, and hopes to help take young designers to the next level. One constraint: Getting people to want jobs producing craft garments.