Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Johnny Doc Gets Wiretapped

For more than a year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wiretapped the cellphones of Philadelphia union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, who runs the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98. As part of an ongoing investigation into union corruption, FBI agents also monitored Democratic City Councilman Bobby Henon and Local 98 political director Marita Crawford, and Joseph Ralston, a former investigator with the state Attorney General’s Office.

According to PhillyVoice, “Henon also has a salaried job with Local 98, and Ralston performed security work for the union.” This could raise serious conflict of interest questions, given their positions in local and state government, respectively. Last summer, FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents searched Dougherty’s office, a nearby union bar, and the IBEW union’s headquarters to gain a better understanding of Local 98’s relationship with Henon and Ralston, in addition to union finances.

The union has long been one of the country’s most prolific spenders. According to its most recent financial disclosures, Johnny Doc earns more than $406,000 annually, including nearly $227,000 in base salary and $169,000 in “disbursements for official business.” Counting Dougherty, the local union pays 27 employees six-figure incomes using member dues. By contrast, Boston’s IBEW Local 103 pays its president, Louis Antonellis, roughly $154,000 in base salary, with less than $3,000 reserved for business-related spending. Local 98 is also well-known for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on sports tickets and luxury goods. (We covered Local 98’s finances in detail here.)

It could be another rough summer for Johnny Doc.

Categories: Crime & CorruptionUnion Spending