Altercation at King of Prussia Construction Site . . . Speculation of Ironworkers Local 401 Member Involvement; How Can This Violence Help?

There was a violent incident this week in the parking lot behind King of Prussia Mall that I found particularly disturbing.  As I understand it, when a crew of 5 steelworkers (non-union workers) in 2 construction trucks arrived from Lebanon around 7 AM on Wednesday to begin work at the new Toy R Us store, their entry was blocked by members of the Ironworkers Local 401.  Instead of forcing through the picket line, they decided to call the police and wait nearby in the mall parking area.

Two or three minutes later, a black Chevy sedan pulled up and 4 men jumped out swinging baseball bats, yelling and shouting.  Three of the men ran away but the other 2 run to get in each of the trucks.  The attackers shattered the trucks rear windows with the bats.  The steelworks jumped out of the trucks and tried to defend themselves but were no match for the 4 assailants who beat them with the bats.  Although the men who were attacked did not tell police their attackers were union workers, they believe that to be the case.

The general contractor for the project, Kane Builders of Glenside says that the subcontractors on the site are both union and non-union.  The site preparation subcontractor is union, as is the framing subcontractor.  The ironworkers and masonry subcontractors are both non-union.

A representative for Ironworkers Local 401 are denying their members had anything to do with the attack.  Their attitude is just because we picket the job site does not mean that we had anything to do with the altercation.  Upper Merion Police have made no arrests in the case.

This would not be the first time there has been a serious union incident in the King of Prussia – Valley Forge area.  Back in 1972, there was another incident of construction-union violence.  On June 5, in 1072 about 1,000 men, many wearing hard hats, swarmed the construction site for a hotel and theater complex (now the Valley Forge Convention Center and a hotel). The union members stormed the Valley Forge site, overrunning a fence and destroying $400,000 worth of equipment and materials. There were 16 union members convicted and 11 jailed in that union incident.

Here we are nearly 40 years later.  Times are difficult . . .  people are out-of-work and desperate . . . but what can possible by gained by this level of violence? 

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32 Comments

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  1. Guess that the free agents didn’t have their guns with them.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    So you think a gun would have somehow have made the outcome better in this situation? Wow.

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    Bill L. Reply:

    Pattye– Not saying I would have condoned the use of a firearm without knowing ALL of the details of the incident, but… The bats can/are considered deadly weapons. A person can be killed by a bat just as quickly and violently as a gun. Who’s to say that the attackers didn’t have that intent and maybe they were interrupted? Also, who’s to say that they didn’t have murderous intent while you are the one being beaten at the time?

    Plus, in the same way that it could have gone “wrong” with the introduction of firearms into this scenario, there are documented incidents where similar situations have gone right. Where the simple fact that attackers have observed the fact that their would-be victims were carrying firearms for personal protection and decided against their nefarious actions. Just saying…

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  2. wow? Sometimes you have to kill the bully. Bite the head of the snake. Unions deserve their scumbag reputation. Perversion of their original intent.

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  3. The 1972 event also resulted in the fire bombing of the site — Leon Altemose was personally attacked and the governor got involved in shutting down bars in Norristown to keep the peace. The unions terrorized all contractors — laying the usual line of “fair wages and benefits” as their goal. PA unions have always been my way or no way…violence is about uneducated response to union rabbelrousing….the jobs are there — other states have legal ways to offer union-non-union sites peacefully. Sad (Altemose died in 2008 after about 10 years of MS)

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  4. Interesting that my remarks on Community Matters end up on the ‘Teamsters Online’ forum, posted by Thug Report – Teamsters Online.

    The fact that this indivdual who posted (assuming he/she is a union member) misquotes me to to his fellow teamsters doesn’t matter . . . I guess misinformation is needed to make his point!

    I never said that the King of Prussia incident was only the 2nd incident of union violence in 40 years (I have no clue how many there’s been!) . . . also didn’t suggest that the ‘Police’ thought it was union members who were responsible for the assault. What I suggested was that the non-union steelworkers thought their assailants were union members. And I certainly did not suggest that unions were the reason for a “breakdown of Society”.

    I don’t have anything against ‘Unions” — my problem is with the ‘violence’ of the incident and against the individuals who are involved (whether they are union members or not). However, if it is determined by the police that the assailants in the King of Prussia incident were members of the Ironworkers Local 401 — I would hope that their fellow union members would be equally as disturbed, and want justice for those that were attacked.

    And here I thought it was just another quiet Sunday afternoon . . . certainly don’t want to wage battle against the teamsters!

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  5. @Thug Report – Teamsters Online

    Yeah, I guess it’s just simple coincidence that a carload of guys show up and beat a couple of guys and their trucks with some bats. At 7am in a parking lot of a mall that is not yet open. That car full of guys just happened to be driving by with their bats and noticed these targets of opportunity. Riight.

    Mr. Teamster Thug guy. Look up “Ockham’s Razor”. Thanks for playing.

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  6. Classic union behavior. My question: What’s wrong with the Upper Merion Police? At 7AM they can’t get a unit to the KoP Mall in under four minutes? And following a daylight incident in which four men in an identified car commit assault with deadly force they can’t come out with immediate arrests?

    Granted, it would be nice if we could always count on the police. Since we can’t thank goodness PA citizens have the right to bear firearms to deter and defend against such attacks. I hope free workers will prepare themselves appropriately to stand up to union thugs in the future. Mob rule should have no quarter in PA.

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    Howard in Daylesford Reply:

    No different than Tredyffrin Police not getting to the Commerce / TD Bank on Swedesford Rd. Which by the way are still unsolved.

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  7. John, you are the only person on this thread to mention Kampf.
    But since you brought it up, I think it is relative.
    There has been no arrest and the 401 representative is denying involvement.

    So far as I know, Kampf has yet to be brought up before a grand jury or prosecuted for his ‘ethical’ crimes. Until such a time that any of your ethical misconduct allegations are proven, you must (using your own standards as outlined in your post) give Kampf the benefit of the doubt of his innocence.

    Of course, I understand why you are trying to get distance from Drucker’s ties to these union thugs, attacking Kampf however, won’t help.

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    chet Reply:

    Kampf Kampf Kampf Kampf.. BORING, Mr. petersen

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    chet Reply:

    I haven’t responded to a kampf tirade. Sometimes it is engaging to respond to you. But everything for you comes back to Warren Kampf. What would you have to say without him priming your pumps. I’ll respond or not if I want to. You are right, it will get interesting but I am sure you will have nothing knew to add to this mix. We get it.

    [Reply]

    chet Reply:

    touche Mr. Petersen Good one!

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  8. Lysander opines, It’s “classic union behavior” …. because of course we can stereotype millions of good union members from one incident.

    Or “sometimes you have to kill the bully. Unions deserve their scumbag reputation. ” Good stuff, Chet. You really feel comfortable showing your true colors on this blog. Is ignorance bliss?

    Township Reader refers to the “usual line of fair wages and benefits.” – as if unions’ real aim is to milk their employers dry with their demands….

    Pattye, see what happens when you mention a code word? It triggers the right -wing talking points. It’s entirely predictable. An involuntary reflex.

    Unions – the focus of the new class war. Don’t expend any anger on greedy bankers, hedge fund managers , or irresponsible corporate giants who foul the envrionment etc. No. Go after union members (teachers, state and municipal employees) as well as private sector labor unions like the Iron Workers. Because when resources are scarce and union members are lucky enough to have a modicum of security, they must be greedy. And some are genuine thugs too.

    Scapegoating union employees puts union and non-union workers at odds. Part of an orchestrated plan to demonize big labor just lilke certain infotainment sources endlessly demonize big government ( since , of course, it’s currently not their kind of big govenrment,)

    I’m not a union member, and the only union members I know personally are dedicated, hard-working teachers. But someone has to stand up to this crap.

    Our trusted local police force belongs to a union. The dedicated, professional teachers who teach your children are union members. The guys who take your tickets on Septa trains are union members. By and large, good people, with families – just trying to make a living and pay their bills – just like you.

    A few guys with bats committed a violent crime. They should go to prison for it. But It’s unlikely their union sanctioned the behavior.They union should condemn the action – even if they deny any of their members were involved. But how about waiting until all the facts are known to pass judgment. And then give the 99.9% of good union members a break.

    [Reply]

    Anon Reply:

    Kate, you obviously have zero real world experience with unions and what lengths they go to try to put companies out of business.
    Yes, ignorance is bliss I guess.

    [Reply]

    chet Reply:

    Class warfare? you bet. We non union bloaks are fed up with the last couple of years of corruption cronyism, bullying and all those Republican or conservative buzzwords. Open your eyes. Unions have become a perversion of their original intent. 75 years ago. Need change you can believe in. Again

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  9. Love those anonymous comments. It takes zero courage to judge someone else’s real world experience….. especially when you know nothing about me – and remain anonymous.

    Your views on unions seem narrow-minded and set in stone.

    However, simple logic dictates that workers have no interest in running the companies that employ them out of business. They want (and deserve) fair wages, a safe working environment and decent benefits – just as you do.

    Unions have made many concessions in recent years while executive compensation has gotten stratospheric – even when company profits tanked. If anything, workers have not shared when their companies made gains and were slammed in downturns.

    It’s (G)reed (O)ver (P)rinciple, right?

    Union representation will remain vital as long as there are people who think as you do.

    P.S. I’ll take my bliss any day.

    [Reply]

    Anon Reply:

    Kate, my point is that if you had experience with a union attacking your business (not just the workers), you would probably gain a much needed perspective on the situation.

    In some ways, I envy your ignorance and subsequent bliss. You can sit back and pontificate about ‘fairness’ in the workplace, with no effect on your livelyhood, while some of us are out there in the real world are fighting everyday for ours.

    Union thuggery and strong arm tactics that are designed to put honest people out of business will remain as long as there are people who think as you do.

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  10. It is clear why there is such a divide nationally between the Democrats and Republicans as evidenced by what I see going on in Tredyffrin from reading the comments posted on this blog. Instead of people coming together, the divide seems to only be widening.
    ~ A disappointed resident

    [Reply]

    Fallon Reply:

    You can thank the CT-wing of the TTGOP for the divide in this township.

    [Reply]

    Vallon Reply:

    Where was Mr. Sweeney when his fellow Catholic and Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, Eamon Brazunas was being attacked for not being married long enough and having no children? TTGOP’s finest has a selective memory.

    [Reply]

    Chet Reply:

    much as you say all catholics should not be blamed, you nor anyone should not say all GOPers are the same. Could you publicly denounce a Democrat, or even the party? I haven’t seen that here. So much for being in that foxhole of honesty.

    By the way, I heard a glimpse of something less than flattering about the Presbyterian church.. Did anyone here the whole thing?

    [Reply]

    Chet Reply:

    mr. Petersen forgive me but I can’t recall your criticism of Democrats but I will take your word. I agree saying the Dems do this as defense of Republicans is a fallacious argument, sort of like blaming the Bush administration on everything from malaria to my psoriasis. It is old. But I will try to be on the lookout for your broad based criticisms.

    I think the expose on Easttowns troubled finances is a good rebuttal to your comments about them. Pattye was right on about the use of playing fields. They are just about all in Tredyffrin. Easttown gets a free ride. Except for behind the easttown library. Maybe they can develop fields in their neck of the woods?

    I am not carrying any water for Ed. I really don’t care about him one way or another. Just stating an analogy that all catholics aren’t bad, and all republicans aren’t Warren Kampf, as if that to you is the devil incarnate.

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  11. The history of this country is that, except for extraordinary times… WW2, 9/11 there has never been close to unanimity of thought. Coming together is impossible. As long as there is freedom of thought and expression, there will always be countervaling opinions. Only in totalitarian regimes where what the boss says, goes, under the threat of torture and death, does some semblance of coming together happen, for obvious reasons. And even then, there are undercurrents of freedom that arise. It is a specious concept, and unhealthy for the democratic process. Koombay ya. My way or the highway? Gridlock is good. Maybe we get some in November. Thanks Chet

    [Reply]

    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    Agree with your point, Chet. Take a look at the lengthy discussion of the “harmony” of the Founding Fathers in Saturday’s Wall St. Journal. The “divide” is borne of genuine, thoughtful differences of opinion on the solutions to our problems, to the extent that we even agree on what the problems are.

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  12. Mike, I read that. Very interesting. Just reading John Adams will give one insight into the differences of opinion that shaped our country

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  13. Kate –
    The whole reason this thread started was because of union violence against non-union workers, so I don’t think it’s narrow minded to start to point to reasons that unions are complicated or difficult.

    If you had experience with unions, you would know that there is a major difference between union leadership and union membership. Therein is the problem. Union leadership is about retaining power and their own power in particular — union membership is about following directions to ensure that the leadership can get them what they promise. Our family owned a union contracting business — during the Altemose times — and many times watched membership cringe at the decisions of leadership. But taking over leadership — especially in the trades — is likely to result in violence against the renegades.
    When a company outsources their work to another country, it’s not because they want the complexities — it’s because they are done with the union pressures. General Motors wasn’t a car company anymore — it was a health care business. JP periodically talks about the GOP contracts in this community — which is almost comical if it were not that it is technically true. The leadership of local unions wants what is “best” for their membership — the leadership of the township, school district etc. want what is best for the community…see the difference? What is best for the individual (higher wages, more benefits) and is backed by the right to strike (teachers) is often okay for the board members because the community can ill afford a strike or labor unrest….
    So now the community is willing to endure strikes and labor unrest to restrict taxes — and it’s going to take that to “get back” what was negotiated in easier times…

    Don’t like anti-union sentiment? Don’t shop at Wal-mart…don’t fly on Delta…don’t buy anything not made in the USA…because then you are “rewarding” the companies that bypassed the union power and found a different way. Private Label is just code for “made at a lower cost” — which in the US of A rarely means made locally.
    Drucker vs. Kampf — who cares.

    [Reply]

  14. Re all the he anti-union vitriol – bla bla bla.bla bla. Condemning unions and all who are members based on the bad behavior of a relative few is your prerogative. But a negative personal experience does not justify a blanket condemnation. Those of you who feel this way should band together and have a field day. (You can wave your guns in the air , talk about exercising your second amendment “options” and fantasize about November election results…) The rest of us will continue to judge people and their associations on a different basis.

    Re John’s criticism of Ed Sweeney’s letter to the editor, I must defend Ed and his right to express his views on the Catholic Church. Our outrage and condemnation of pedophile priests and the Church’s pattern of covering up criminal behavior is appropriate. But Ed is, of course, correct that the overwhelming majority of priests and nuns who commit to the religious life are serving communities faithfully . We don’t have to be blind followers to acknowledge this fact and maybe, appreciate their service…..

    ….Just as one does not have to be a union cheerleader to support unions’ right to exist, and the fact that most union members are guilty of nothing but trying to make a decent living.

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  15. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette is what my philosophy is. After years of being broken by our government, it’s about time unions start fighting back, against both government tyranny and class traitors alike. There can be no true working class movement without workers solidarity

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  16. Pattye,
    Is there a update on all this? Was anyone ever arrested for this incident at the Mall?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Mike, Not to say that there wasn’t an arrest, but I did not hear anything further after the incident. Does anyone else have any information?

    [Reply]

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