We've all heard the stories of shakedowns and bullying that occurs to many non-unionized workers and private business owners. However, the thuggery might have gone beyond the pale recently when one Ohio business owner was repeatedly harassed, then shot and almost killed, for allegedly being non-union.
John King owns one of Toledo's largest non-union electrical contracting businesses. With 25 employees and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, King's business reportedly often thrives while other unionized electrical contracting businesses fail due to their higher rates.
However, King's success may be making him a prime target for union thugs, including threats and violence.
King says he holds no animus towards the union, stating that he only ever wanted to do what he loved to do. Labor Union Report writes that after some college, King did a stint with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers before being drafted into the military. Following his service, King went solo and became the youngest independent electrical contractor in the Toledo area.
But King's success, especially during the recession, may have come with a price, including lawsuits, harassment, slashed tires and multiple incidents of vandalism, just to name a few. LUR reports:
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 in 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 reportedly assaulted by IBEW thugs.
Unfortunately, the vandalism has never stopped. This year alone, he’s had to report three incidents of damage . 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.
But last Wednesday the attacks grew more heinous when King discovered an individual on his property attempting to vandalize his SUV. When King yelled at the man to stop, the vandal shot King, hitting him in the arm.
According to LUR, police recovered a shell casing from the scene the night of the shooting in addition to a Swiss Army knife. The knife was presumably going to be used to slash King’s tires yet again.
LUR reports that neither the police nor King are certain which union was behind the attack, but given that the word "SCAB" was scrawled on King's vehicle, there is a good indication the incident was union-related.
King, who is offering a $10,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspect, praised police for their thoroughness in the investigation.
We should perhaps also point out that King's shooting comes on the heels of a controversial declaration made by the union that represents Verizon workers, when it declared "open season" on "managers and scabs." The Blaze reported:
“The voice of a representative encourages members to deal harshly with ‘managers and scabs.’
‘It is open season. Follow them safely, but when you get to a location, torture them, torture them with chants and noise. Be so loud that they can’t concentrate and wish they never got out of bed,’ says the recorded voice. Another part of the message states:
WTOL brings us the report and interview with King: