Morning Joe Crew Can’t Name a Single Successful Unionized Firm

You can tell MSNBC is liberal, because their daily 3 hour program hosted by a former Republican congressman is in the morning rather than in prime time. And here they are claiming that it’s impossible to name a single successful company that’s unionized:

Jamison Foser observes that General Electric, where they work, employs many union workers and seems to be quite successful. They also name UPS. It’s worth noting as well that all of Americans’ major professional sports teams are unionized, that the entertainment industry is very heavily unionized, much of the telecom sector is unionized, Safeway where I buy my groceries is unionized, etc.

But stepping back, the larger issue here is that you tended to see firms becoming unionized back when the legal climate was friendly to unionization. That was in the 1930s and 1940s. Since that time, it’s been exceedingly difficult to organize new union workplaces in the private sector. It’s been over fifty years since Taft-Hartley and the beginning of the anti-union backlash. Obviously, it should come as no surprise that many of the economic sectors that were huge in the 30s and 40s are smaller now. That’s because we have whole new economic sectors that didn’t exist back in the day. And when a sector has arisen—as the whole suite of things around computers and technology largely has—in the era in which the law tilts heavily against union organizing, you wind up with a sector with little in the way of unions. To take this history and read it as a story about unions causing sectors to fail is backwards. What’s happened is that unions have been locked out of huge swathes of the economy, denying workers their chance at securing a decent share of the value created in those areas.

In a country like, say, Finland where union density is in the seventies, there are obviously going to be tons of successful unionized firms. The difference is just that Finland made it easier to form unions. And it hasn’t crippled their economy—median living standard are pretty clearly higher over there than here.