Convicted Violent Union Boss Steps up to IL Labor Secy.

A Rockford-area union boss convicted of slashing the tires of a non-union truck outside a Wal-Mart is IL Gov. Rod Blagojevichs choice to run the states Labor Dept.

In 1997, Michael Fenger, the Bus. Mgr. of Intl. Bhd. Of Elec. Wrkrs. Local 364 was attending a union protest of non-union workers building the store. Several militants surrounded the truck of a non-union worker as he tried to leave the site. With the truck stopped, two police officers saw Fenger use a five-in. awl to puncture all four tires. Sterling police were videotaping the protest and recorded him puncturing at least one of them.

Fenger was charged with felony criminal damage to property and two misdemeanor charges of property damage and reckless conduct. In a plea agreement, Fenger pled guilty to the misdemeanor charges, and was fined $1,500. Last year, he succeeded in getting the case expunged from the record, but disclosed the incident to Blagojevich aides before his appointment.

Fenger denied any involvement in the tire-slashing, and claimed to have pled “no contest.” But Whiteside County States Attny. Gary Spencer, who prosecuted Fenger, said that no such plea exists in IL law. [Chicago Tribune 2/13/03]