Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

No Profitable Unionized Companies??

I wanted to return to theological posts, today.  Although outraged by so much around the world, I wanted a break.  I wanted to talk about other things.   After all, my interests vary widely and I haven’t written on science fiction, detective fiction, family (my eldest daughter graduated from Middle School today!), friends, theology, biblical hermeneutics, moral theory, etc. 

But then I made the mistake of checking the internet and finding out that idiots on “Morning Joe” (the conservative morning show on the otherwise liberal MSNBC), including Adam Sorkin of the New York Times made the ABSURD claim today that there are no profitable unionized companies.  I am freakin’ FED UP with the constant attacks on organized labor in this country.  When the U.S. had its largest middle class, we had a workforce that was 33% unionized.  Now that our middle class is evaporating (and was even before the recession), we have only 12% unionized workforce.  Even in the midst of the current crisis, unionized companies are saving more jobs and companies than otherwise.

And for the ignorant, here’s a BRIEF list of “profitable unionized companies” in the U.S.–just in case you ever get asked to pontificate on “Morning Joe.” (No wonder Joe Scarborough couldn’t cut it as a Congresscritter from FL–inconvenient facts kept getting in his peabrain way!):

United Parcel Service, global leader in small package shipping.  The pilots are members of the Independent Pilots ‘ Association and most of the rest of the workers are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. (Full disclosure:  I am a Teamster and have worked part-time for UPS for 8 years–with fulltime union benefits.)

Kroger grocery stores are unionized and have remained profitable during the recession.  (You’d think Joe Scarborough would remember this one, since Kroger is headquartered in FL.)

Southwest Airlines, the pilots are members of SWAPA (Southwest Airlines Pilots Association).

All six (6) major Hollywood studios.

A T & T and Verizon

Costco stores is unionized in  some divisions, but not in others.

At least the following railroads: CSX, BNSF, and Norfolk.

Caterpillar (many union disputes, but the earth machinery company still has unions even though it wishes otherwise–and it remains profitable).

Safeway stores

Alaska Air

U.S. Steel

General Electric (which owns NBC and MSNBC which pays Scarborough ridiculous amounts of money so he can badmouth the union workers which are paid much less to put his idiotic  voice on the air!)

The National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League.

Boeing (profitable despite being undermined by John McCain!)

Disney (still profitable in 2008)

Kraft Foods

General Mills

General Dynamics

Harley-Davidson (which went bankrupt and was going to go out of business until the union, United Steelworkers, took over and now run the company profitably;  the United Autoworkers are talking with United Steelworkers so that they can learn how to apply those lessons to Chrysler, in which they will now have a majority stake)

Dow Chemical

Lockheed Martin


News Corp (Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s mega-corporation which includes the rightwing noise machines, Fox News, The New York Post, Wall Street Journal, etc. is highly unionized.)






Peabody Energy

Exxon is unionized in its refinery operations

This partial list should help dispel the notion that organized labor is, by itself, a cause of any firm’s unprofitability.


June 3, 2009 - Posted by | economic justice, labor


  1. Good post. Now your next one should be on science fiction! 🙂

    Comment by Dr. Evangelicus | June 4, 2009

  2. I have been a member of 4 labor unions including the IWW (Wobblies) and the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters). I strongly support working men and women. That having been said, some unions have gone too far in demands and it hurt their employers. In California some unions and state government (elected politicos) have driven the economy into the ground. A productive union tries to find a common ground with management while sticking to their principles and their members’ best interests. In that way both the union and the company benefit. Always remember in negotiations not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg !

    Comment by Paul | June 4, 2009

  3. Michael don’t sell Joe Scarborough short-he is a very intelligent man and a true conservative unlike many who claim to be!

    Comment by Paul | June 4, 2009

  4. I love the list! It’s a nice reminder that unions can advance the interests of the worker while not harming the economy. I have been watching the Employee Free Choice Act and I’m really hoping it will pass.

    I agree with Paul that unions are not always right. Although, my concern is less on their economic impact as in their occasional tendency to be uncooperative towards other unions and their workers. Also as a workplace democracy (which a union essentially is), it suffers from the same problems as civic democracy, like corruption. More often than not though, a union secures real benefits for society in general.

    Comment by jackofspades83 | June 4, 2009

  5. Most grocery stores in California are unionized. I remember a few years back when most of the stores were on strike.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | June 4, 2009

  6. The California economy is still one of the strongest economies in the entire world.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | June 4, 2009

  7. Unions are not workplace democracy–merely an opportunity and vehicle that can BECOME workplace democracy.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | June 4, 2009

  8. Absolutely true. On a similar note the government is an opportunity and vehicle for civic democracy.

    Comment by jackofspades83 | June 4, 2009

  9. Well, you can use my search engine to see my post on Star Trek.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | June 4, 2009

  10. Sure, some unions are greedy and a problem to companies in trouble. But what I object to is the sweeping generality that this is ALWAYS the case. I especially object to the “blame the UAW” for the failures of Chrysler and GM meme. In fact, the UAW kept making compromises that management wouldn’t match. The problem with this meme is that Toyota is not unionized, but in terrible trouble. Chrysler and GM are the result of BAD MANAGEMENT, not because they are unionized.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | June 4, 2009

  11. The Union is supposed to represent the workers’ interests. Most unions do a good job;however, some have not done a good job. Workers have to keep their officials honest and up to speed and above all keep an eye on union funds. Greed is not unique only to management.

    Comment by Paul | June 5, 2009

  12. I hate to tell you this but while Joe maybe a member of AFTRA he is working non-union for a non-union company ie: MSNBC. MSNBC along with CNN and Fox News are all non-union networks though most of their on-air staff are members of AFTRA. The way it works is that if these networks refuse to sign with AFTRA then AFTRA considers them not in their covered jurisdiction even though the work is the same as on covered networks like NBC. Therefore union members are allowed to work NU. Brian Willams will work union for NBC then go over to MSNBC and do the same job NU.

    Comment by Yosemite | June 12, 2010

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