Former Union Official Sentenced For Beating, Extorting Non-Union Workers Over ‘Territory’ Dispute

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Brent Foster Contributor
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A former union official was sentenced to 4 years in prison for beating and extorting non-union workers, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Thomas Williamson Sr., a 70-year-old Indiana man and official of the Iron Workers Local 395, aimed to prevent a group of non-union ironworkers from continuing their work at the Plum Creek Christian Academy in Dyer, Indiana. The school is linked to the Dyer Baptist Church, an entity Williamson viewed as a part of the Local 395’s “territory,” according to the DOJ.

Williamson initially tried to verbally intimidate the non-union workers at the construction site before speaking directly with the church in an effort to secure the project for the union, according to the DOJ. Unsuccessful, Williamson returned to the site a day later with former Local 395 leader Jeffrey Veach and supervised union members as they beat the non-union workers.

One victim suffered a broken jaw that required extensive surgery to correct, according to the DOJ.

Williamson and Veach both pleaded guilty for conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion. Veach was sentenced to 42 months in prison in September 2020, according to the DOJ. Both men will be ineligible to hold union positions for 13 years after serving their sentences.

Non-union workers are according to a 2015 report happier than unionized workers but an Indiana labor union in 2011 sued the state to avoid working with non-union workers. (RELATED: Mother Says She’s Being Targeted By California’s Largest Teachers Union After She Pushed For School Reopening)