Union Boss Clashes with Nonunion Contractor

Nonunion contractor Joshua Keesee claims John J. Dougherty broke his nose and hit him in the eye in an incident on February 21 of this year.  Dougherty, Business Manager for the notorious International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, is also a prominent Philadelphia politician who has helped many politicians.  Craig R. McCoy, Mark Fazlollah and Dylan Purcell have the story on philly.com.

John J. Doughterty and assistant.

Keesee’s lawyer, Robert Mozenter, said detectives told him they had urged the District Attorney’s Office to arrest Dougherty and the men with him on aggravated assault charges. But, Mozenter said, District Attorney Seth Williams instead referred the case to state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.

A spokesman for Williams did not return repeated calls seeking comment. Nor did the detective assigned to the case. A spokesman for Kane confirmed that the District Attorney’s Office had contacted her staff to refer a criminal matter involving Dougherty.

The fight broke out near Third and Reed Streets at a worksite for the construction of a dozen homes that has been controversial for its use of nonunion labor. Union forces have at times installed their giant inflatable rat at the site to call attention to the issue.

A witness, James Yates, 64, said Monday that he watched the clash from the second-floor window of his house on Third Street.

Yates said the incident began with a verbal confrontation between Keesee and Dougherty and the labor leader’s three companions. He said it appeared to escalate into violence when Dougherty and his group rushed toward Keesee.

“The four of them charged,” he said.

Almost immediately, he said, he lost sight of the altercation because the men moved outside his field of vision.

Keesee’s lawyer, Mozenter, said Williams called him Friday to tell him he had referred the matter to state prosecutors.

In 2013, Local 98 gave Williams’ campaign $11,500, the maximum allowable annual contribution from a political action committee, as he ramped up to run for a second term. The union gave Williams’ campaign $6,000 in 2014.

Records show that the union also gave donations to Kane: $20,000 in 2013.