What Do Cat, Dow, Lockheed-Martin, Hershey's and Harley-Davidson Have In Common?

June 5, 2009
A little late coming to this flap, but TPM reports that successful NYT columnist Andrew Sorkin was recently on a successful morning TV program saying that neither he nor the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe could name one successful unionized company. The ...

A little late coming to this flap, but TPM reports that successful NYT columnist Andrew Sorkin was recently on a successful morning TV program saying that neither he nor the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe could name one successful unionized company.

The fact that a set of talk show hosts couldn't come up with a single intelligent thing to say is not surprising; however, I'd expect more out of award-winning business writer and host of the DealBook blog like Sorkin. Especially since, ironically, he was making the assertion on a set owned and operated by GE, one of the most successful companies in the world, and a long-time unionized workforce.

TPM also lists a number of manufacturers under the heading "Successful Unionized Companies," a list that includes the group from the title as well as General Dynamics, Merck, Kellogg's, Kimberly-Clark, PepsiCo, and about 10 other flagship American manufacturers.

To his credit, Sorkin has already walked the statement back, but it begs the question -- is there a model for successful union/management partnership in 21st century manufacturing? And if so, what can we learn from it?

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