The Morning Joe crew was on an anti-union tear this morning, claiming the union label on a company means "sell." Mika Brzezinski went so far as to say of unions: "They cripple the system that makes a company work." Collectively, the journalists on Morning Joe couldn't name a single "successful" unionized company.
This says more about their qualifications to discuss public policy and labor relations than it says about unions. To pick just one obvious example, UPS is unionized -- and the company made more than $3 billion last year. That's "billion" with a "b," and those are profits, not revenues.
Oh, what the heck, let's take one more example. GE is one of the world's largest companies; in 2006, its revenues were greater than the gross domestic products of 80 percent of UN nations. The company made more than $18 billion in 2008 -- again, billion with a b, and again, those are profits, not revenue. All that despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that 13 different unions represent GE workers.
Oh, and GE owns NBC-Universal, which owns MSNBC, which pays Joe Scarborough a handsome salary (and the unionized workers who help get his show on the air considerably less.)
Does Joe Scarborough think NBC and GE are not "successful" companies? Does Mika Brzezinski think the unionized workers she no doubt interacts with every day are crippling her ability to do her job, or her employer's ability to be successful?
Or is it possible that the anti-union rants from Morning Joe journalists has something to do with the fact that members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA union have protested NBC-Universal? Here's a May 19 press release:
Members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA will stage a protest tonight outside NBC Universal's Fall Preview Gala at the Town Hall Theater in Manhattan. More than 2,500 NBCU employees at the NBC Television Network and its owned TV stations in New York, Washington, D.C.; Chicago, and Burbank have been working without a contract for nearly two months. Union and company negotiators have been meeting sporadically since last September; little progress for a new agreement has been made.
NABET-CWA Locals have filed unfair labor charges and unit clarification petitions with the National Labor Relations Board and put NBC Universal on notice previously that workers will mobilize across the country to fight for a fair and equitable contract. The contract between NABET-CWA and NBC Universal expired at midnight on March 31, 2009. No new talks have been scheduled.
UPDATE: New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin started off the nonsense about successful unionized companies, saying, "Name a successful unionized company. Think. You're gonna go to break before you come up with one."
If Andrew Ross Sorkin's name sounds familiar, that's probably because he's the reporter who started the myth about the average GM worker being paid $70 an hour. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named him "Worst Person in the World" for that bit of blatantly false anti-union, anti-worker propaganda.
UPDATE 2: Over at TPM, Brian Beutler has a response from Teamsters president James Hoffa: "The Morning Joe team really should be embarrassed for showing their lack of knowledge on the subject." And Beutler says he has a call in to Sorkin, and is awaiting a response.