Union Bosses Finance Philly Mayoral Race


Union boss Johnny Dougherty, head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, demonstrates his influence on the Philadelphia mayoral election spending hundreds of thousands in dues. Brooke Rogers has the story in National Review Online.

Jerry Jordan, teacher, missing from classroom action.

Kenney’s margin of victory in the mayoral primary, which essentially guarantees a general-election win, would have been difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without the support of Johnny Doc, whose power extends well beyond his own International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98. In particular, unions linked to Johnny Doc, plus his own organizations, provided big financial backing for key black politicians who endorsed Kenney — a crucial boost for a white candidate.

In February, 2015, Dougherty told the Philadelphia Inquirer that a group of union labor representatives had been meeting monthly for almost three years at the headquarters of IBEW Local 98 headquarters, the union he runs personally. They discussed union-related issues, he said, but their ultimate goal was to ally to back a candidate in 2015. “It’s a think tank that turns into a ‘do tank,’” Dougherty said. “It’s not a matter of if we’re going to be all together, it’s a matter of who we’re going to be all together behind.”

According to the Inquirer as well as an article in Newsworks, the meeting was attended by representatives of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Service Employees International Union; the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; the city’s Building & Construction Trades’ Council; the firefighters’ union; United Food and Commercial Workers; “and others.”

The Kenney’ campaign’s financial disclosures show that between 2013 and early 2015 he got approximately $507,700 from labor unions, union associations, and related PACs whose representatives and affiliates attended the monthly meetings with Dougherty.