A former business agent of Iron Workers Local 395 in Indiana was recently sentenced in Indianapolis federal court to four years in federal prison for assaulting non-union workers at an Indiana jobsite.
In January 2020, Thomas Williamson Sr., 70, pled guilty to charges of organizing and leading an assault on a group of non-union iron workers to help obtain a contract for work on the Plum Creek Christian Academy in Dyer, Ind. His sentencing was delayed due to a pandemic shutdown of the federal court for most of 2020. As part of his sentence, Williamson also is banned from holding any union office for 13 years.
According to his plea, in January 2016, Williamson learned that a non-union ironworking company was performing work for Dyer Baptist Church, which he considered to be in Local 395’s territory. On Jan. 6, 2016, Williamson visited the site to seek a business contract for Local 395 from general contractor Lagestee-Mulder and a labor contract from D5 Iron Works. Both firms declined the offer.
The day after those failed efforts, Williamson returned to the site along with then-Local 395 president Jeffrey Veach and a group of rank-and-file members of Local 395. According to court documents, the union members carried out a coordinated assault on the non-union workers, beating their victims with loose pieces of wood, punching them and kicking them. The attack left one of the non-union workers with a broken jaw that required several surgeries and prolonged hospitalization.
Veach also pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion and was sentenced separately in September 2020 to nearly three-and-half years in federal prison.