Union-bashing gone awry

UNION-BASHING GONE AWRY…. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” featured quite a discussion this morning about the problems facing unionized companies. Perhaps “discussion” is too generous — the show featured foolish commentary premised on union-bashing.

The NYT‘s Andrew Sorkin challenged the panel, “Name a successful unionized company. Think. You’re going to go to [commercial] break before you come up with one. And that’s the problem.” Mika Brzezinski, who has clearly been influenced a little too much by Joe Scarborough, added, “[Unions] cripple the system that makes a company work.”

Pressed to name a “successful” unionized company, the “Morning Joe” crew, which included Jim Cramer, came up blank.

Now, my first response was to wonder whether the folks behind the cameras, filming the media personalities, are union members. And the employees who installed and operate the on-set lights. And the folks who built the “Morning Joe” set.

But perhaps those unions don’t count, since Brzezinski and others are specifically interested in unionized companies that “work” and are “successful.”

Jamison Foser noted UPS’s $3 billion in corporate profits last year, before connecting the issue directly to the “Morning Joe” team.

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?

I’d love to hear “Morning Joe” revisit this, but I suspect that’s unlikely.