Unions

I don’t know what it’s like at your office, but at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Valentine’s Day is a big deal. Staffers frequently beat suitors off with a stick and on February 14, the deliveries of candy, chocolates, flower arrangements, and edible undies do not stop. So when workers were notified just days before the big day that moving forward, such shipments were banned, there was no way they were going to take the news lying down. Read more »

Goldman Sachs has faced a bizarre protest by a former employee representing what he claims is a union for the bank’s former and current staff in the country set up after a round of job cuts. Wearing a mask and using a pseudonym to hide his identity, a man purporting to be a representative of the Goldman Sachs Japan Employee Union held a press conference with foreign journalists on Thursday in Tokyo. The National Union of General Workers, a multi-industry labour group, has confirmed that the Goldman union was set up under its umbrella. It has not disclosed number of staff who are members or the identity of the man holding the press conference. “We are fighting for our jobs,” said the man, using the pseudonym Adam Lee. “This mask represents the faceless entities that you find … The nameless faces are just … something that they crunch, like a number … When they want to downsize, they cast aside these nameless faces.” [FT]

Andrew Ross Sorkin.jpgWe haven’t seen the video of the MSNBC interview when Sorkin had some less than flattering things to say about the unions, but his words of contrition should tug on the heart strings of union employees everywhere.

I did not mean to suggest that there are literally no successful companies that employ union workers. Of course there are! Your readers have provided a good list (though I might quibble with some of the names.)
I made the unscripted comment with my financial columnist hat on in the context of the problems at GM. That’s what the discussion was about on the program. And when you look at some of the once great iconic American industries that have faltered — automobiles, airlines, steel, apparel, etc — there is a fair question worth asking about whether those industries were helped or hurt by their unions. But let’s leave that debate for another day

Update: ARS’s exact words which led to the heartfelt fake apology