MSNBC Promotes 'My Bad Boss' Contest for AFL-CIO

     Leave it to MSNBC to help unions bash business and bosses.

     Anchor David Shuster actually outdid the union’s “My Bad Boss” contest with a comment about one pregnant employee putting “placenta” on pizza because her boss wouldn’t let her go to the hospital.

     Shuster welcomed Working America, an arm of the AFL-CIO that actively promotes union ideals in non-union workplaces, which hosted the contest as part of its campaign against “vicious employers,” according to Shuster.

     Robert Fox, deputy director of Working America, described the contest on the August 26 “MSNBC News Live” to select “the worst boss in the country.”

     The competition was a publicity ploy by the AFL-CIO to demonize non-union employers. The most disturbing came from Shuster’s reaction to one entry that involved pizza and pregnancy.

     “The pizza maker was a worker who works in a pizza parlor. She was pregnant and when she went into labor, the boss told her she had to stay and make pizzas between the contractions because he to go out to lunch,” Fox said.

     Shuster, who is prominently known as the Washington correspondent reporting for MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” had a very disconcerting response.

     “The person who was making pizzas might be then tempted instead of putting pepperoni, put I don’t know – placenta on the pizza,” said Shuster. “What are people supposed to do?”

     At least Shuster did point out one major problem with the contest: the AFL-CIO didn’t even bother to try and “verify that the stories are accurate.”

     MSNBC could have provided balance to this story by broadcasting a segment about union bosses that have gone bad.

    Pat Tornillo, former head of the Miami-based United Teachers of Dade, used the dues of union members to subsidize his lavish lifestyle including trips to India, Bangkok and Australia. Tornillo was eventually sentenced to 27 months in prison for misusing teachers’ union funds in 2003. Barbara Bullock, the former president of the Washington, D.C., teachers union skimmed an estimated $2.5 million from her 5,000-member union. “FBI investigators seized thousands of dollars' worth of goods from her, including furs, designer handbags and Ferragamo shoes,” wrote Michael Crowley in the June 2004 issue of Reader’s Digest. “The annual dues of hardworking teachers – nearly $650 in 2002 -- helped pay for her splurges.” Linda Holden, former financial secretary of Local 6-639 of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union was sentenced to two years probation, including 180 days of home confinement and ordered to pay $74,090.09 in restitution in June for embezzling that amount in union dues.

      Those are just a few of potential contestants for an annual “Bad Union Boss” contest, but the National Legal and Policy Center has hundred of potential candidates for such a contest posted on its Web site.