Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blade bias #10 - union violence unreported

It's been a while since I've done a Blade bias article and, quite conveniently, they provided fodder for a post.

If you listen to WSPD, you would have learned earlier this week about the vandalism and shooting at the home of the owner of one of the area's largest non-union electrical contracting companies. Details from the WSPD News department:

John King was shot in the arm last week when he surprised a man trying to slash the tires on the truck at his Lambertville home.The word "scab" was also scrawled on the side.

King says he became suspicious when he saw an outside security light outside go on.

When he stepped out of his front door, the man fired one shot and ran off.

King is the owner of the largest non-union electrical contracting company in the area.

The story has been picked up nationwide - The Blaze even provided a photo of King's vehicle with what appears to be two-foot high letters spelling SCAB scratched into its side.

But here's how our local paper reports the incident (link):

Lambertville man shot in arm after man tries to slash his tires

LAMBERTVILLE — A man was shot in the arm Wednesday night when he interrupted a suspect trying to puncture his vehicle’s tires with a knife, authorities said.

The incident happened about 11 p.m. in the 3300 block of Deepwood in Lambertville, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s department.

When confronted, the assailant shot a small caliber pistol at the victim, grazing his left upper arm. The victim was treated at the scene and was to seek medical treatment on his own, sheriff's deputies said.

The suspect was described as being in his mid-20s to early 30s, white, of medium build, and about 6 feet tall. He was wearing a dark-colored T-shirt, jeans, and a dark-colored baseball hat.

He appeared to be in his mid-20s or early 30s.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is requesting anyone with information to contact the detective bureau at 734-240-7530.

There is no mention of the the word 'SCAB'; there is no mention of the fact that the man owns a non-union company. There is nothing whatsoever to even remotely indicate that perhaps the union issue is a key component of the crime - clearly important information to helping find the culprit.

And when you read the comments following their story, you'll see people speculating that there is more to the story than just a tire-slashing event. Duh!

I'd wager that the paper only included this blurb because other news outlets were airing the story, as 'mere vandalism' just across the state line is something they don't normally cover.

Perhaps, they'd explain, there is no way to know the motivation for the act until the culprit is found and 'concluding' this was an act of union violence would be premature.

As if they've never jumped to conclusions on their own....

But there's a clear difference between jumping to conclusions and making an educated guess based upon evidence clearly present. Hint to The Blade - the word 'SCAB' is what is known to investigators as a 'clue.'

There is the history of the IBEW with this man and his company. As LaborUnionReport writes:

John King didn’t plan on being an enemy of unions. In fact, he says all he’s ever wanted to do is work at something he loves doing and be successful at it—something that most normal Americans would call ‘The American Dream.’

After high school and some college, Mr. King briefly worked for an IBEW contractor before being drafted into the military. Following his service in the early 70s, King became his own boss by going into business as the youngest electrical contractor in Toledo.

Over the years, King Electrical Services had always been a small business. However, during the Great Recession, King’s business has actually improved as his union competitors have priced themselves out of work.

Unfortunately, being a non-union electrical company, King has always been on the radar of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). In fact, in 2006, he won a significant case against the IBEW at the US Court of Appeals, after the union had improperly promised his electricians jobs on union sites if they voted the union into King’s company.

Since he’s been in business, in addition to the legal battles and verbal abuse, King’s company has been vandalized and threatened on numerous occasions.

“Back then, it was nothing to have to regularly buy a new set of tires.” King said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “The ice pick was the weapon of choice.”

Until Wednesday, the worst of the union attacks on King and his business came in the mid-eighties during the UAW strike at AP Parts. During a lull during the lengthy strike, King’s business was picketed by more than 50 IBEW picketers. This was at a time when he only had eight or nine employees. One of his employees, whose car was trashed by the union picketers, was also beaten up by IBEW thugs.

Unfortunately, the vandalism has never stopped. This year alone, he’s had to report three incidents of damage to police. This doesn’t include the incidents of stalking he and his men have to go through while they’re working.

In one incident earlier this year, rocks were thrown through the front windows of his shop, one of which had the word “kill” written on it.

When you take the prior incidences into account and the use of the word 'SCAB,' along with the act of slashing tires, it is logical to presume that the perpetrator dislikes King's non-union stance. Clearly the place to begin looking for the culprit is among IBEW and/or other union supporters. Fortunately, the police have a slug as well as the knife they believe was used to vandalize the vehicle. Obviously, there could be evidence on those items which may assist in identifying the perpetrator.

But if you read just the local paper, you wouldn't know any of this and you wouldn't even remotely suspect that there is more to this than just some nut job getting caught trying to slash someone's tires.

WSPD's Fred Lefebvre interviewed King this morning (podcast available here). King has offered a $10,000 reward. He said that this is particularly hard on his wife. I can only imagine what she must feeling and thinking when her husband is shot in their own yard by someone who got caught in the act of vandalism. Throwing a rock through a window is bad enough, but getting shot elevates it to another level entirely.

Now, the next question is: where is the IBEW? Wouldn't it be great if the leadership of the local union publicly denounces any such action as an option to its members and promises to expel the culprit if he is found to be a member of their union?

Oh - wait - considering it's a union, they'd probably pay for his legal defense....

UPDATE: As of 4:45, this story made the Drudge Report - see the middle column:

1 comment:

skeeter1107 said...

My hope is that there will be RICO charges brought against the Union if it can be proven it was directed from them.

What's also interesting is the behavior is over looked by the local powers. Would these people turn a blind eye if a non-union group terrorized a union group? Don't think so.

Google Analytics Alternative