Strike Coverage

STRIKE COVERAGE….Brad Plumer is unhappy with media coverage of the Northwestern strike:

Just about every major story I’ve seen opens with a few cloying paragraphs on how the airline is still running “smoothly” despite those uppity workers causing a big ruckus, then segues into a full swoon over Northwest’s ability to keep its stock prices flying as high as its planes, and finally, closes on a note of admiration for the company’s oh-so-bold strategy of using scabs?ahem, “replacement workers”?to weather these tough times. And that’s just the liberal press.

….A few months ago, I noted something just as appalling going on with the barely-averted BART strike here in San Francisco: In the press, the entire ordeal was cast as a battle between commuters and workers?in which the soon-to-be-inconvenienced BART riders heaped aspersions on the “unreasonable” demands of the unions?while business managed to write itself out of this little drama entirely.

Yep. Strikes aren’t actually that common anymore, but when they do happen media coverage nearly always places the blame ? tacitly or otherwise ? on the union. But it takes two to tango, and strikes don’t happen unless management refuses to compromise too. In the case of Northwest, for example, the union has offered $100 million in concessions but management is demanding a package worth $176 million. So whose fault is the strike?