This is a developing story as police are still investigating the shooting of a non-union business owner, John King, by what appears to be a union assailant.
With around 25 employees, John King owns one of the largest non-union electrical contracting businesses in the Toledo, Ohio area. As a non-union contractor, his business happens to be doing well at a time when unions in the construction industry are suffering. This, it seems, has made the usual animosity unions have for him even greater, making him a prime target of union thugs. So much so, that one of them tried to kill him last week at his home.
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.
Last Wednesday, however, the attacks on Mr. King became much more serious when he was awakened late in the evening at his home in Monroe County, Michigan and saw that the motion lights in his driveway had come on. When he looked out his front window, he saw a figure near his SUV and went outside.
As soon as he got outside his front door, King yelled at the individual who was crouched down by King’s vehicle. As soon as King yelled, the suspect stood and, without hesitation, fired a shot at Mr. King.
Luckily for King, as he yelled, he also stumbled. If it weren’t for that, however, John King’s injuries might have been much, much worse. In fact, he might have been killed.
Upon scrambling back into his house, King got to his cell phone and called 911. However, due to the pain in his knees and shoulder from falling, King was unaware that he had been shot in the arm.
At first, King thought that his assailant was merely trying to break into his vehicle. Little did he know, however, that the perpetrator was targeting him–because of his non-union company.
The night of the shooting, police recovered a shell casing from a small caliber handgun. In addition to the shell casing, police also found a Swiss Army knife that police say was likely going to be used to slice the tires on King’s SUV.
While neither the police, nor Mr. King can say which union was behind the attack, it is very clear by the word ‘scab’ scrawled on his SUV that it the attack was union-related.
“The police have been very thorough,” King says. “I cannot praise the Monroe County Sheriff’s department enough.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s office is encouraging anyone with information to call 734-240-7530.
In addition, Mr. King is offering a $10,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.