New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin went on MSNBC this morning and set off the entire labor movement.
“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,” he said before a room full of unionized NBC employees.
Unions are aghast. “Sorkin and the Morning Joe crew just showed their complete failure to understand how unions contribute to the success of the American economy by blindly assuming that unionized companies haven’t been profitable in the last year,” said James Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, in a statement to TPMDC.
Off the top of my head I can give you several Teamster-represented companies who continue to thrive, despite the economic downturn, but there are thousands more: UPS, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Coca-Cola Enterprises, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. The Morning Joe team really should be embarrassed for showing their lack of knowledge on the subject.
And that’s just on the record.Off the record, an irritated union organizer told me to “ask [Sorkin] if he’s received any packages from UPS in the past five years or so, or flown on Southwestern Airlines during that time?
And is he aware that, in using those companies, like millions of others, he was a customer of two of the most innovative and successful unionized companies in the world? You could ask him how the American supermarket industries survives, given that it’s about 80% unionized? You could ask him how the rest of the advanced capitalist world manages to compete with the U.S. given that the unionization rate in every advanced capitalist country in the world is greater, often far greater than ours—and that that is reflected in their unionization density of their respective transnational corporations.
I’ve placed a call to Sorkin for comment, and will let you know if and how he responds.
Late update: You can read Sorkin’s apology here.