Today Show Soft-Pedals Illegality of NYC Transit Union Strike

Let's get one thing straight: the the Transport Workers Union strike in NYC is illegal.  Even the New York Times, in this article, had to acknowledge that stubborn fact:

"The state's Taylor Law bars strikes by public employees and carries penalties of two days' pay for each day on strike, but the transit union decided it was worth risking the substantial fines to continue the fight for what it regards as an acceptable contract."

In addition to the tremendous inconvenience the strike inflicts on the seven-million largely working-class people who use the transit system daily, the economic loss has been estimated at as much as $400 million per day.  

Much of that loss will be suffered by lower-income people living in outlying areas, unable to get to their jobs.  The strike also jeopardizes public safety and security, as emergency vehicles can get stuck in massive traffic jams as commuters are forced to take to their cars.

But while the NYC-based Today show understandably devoted considerable coverage to the strike, it downplayed the strike's illegality:

  • No clear-cut statement as to the strike's illegality or to the undeniable violation of the Taylor Law. 
  • No interview of a union official, with tough questions as to the union's law-breaking and the dangers and harm inflicted on the city and millions of people.  

Today only informed us that the transit system's management had declared the strike illegal, and that management was heading to court to ask that the union and its members be slapped with fines. 

Nothing from Today to suggest that management wasn't merely expressing its own view as to the strike's illegality, perhaps as a bargaining position, but that the strike was indeed an undeniable, serious breach of the law by the union.

If the tables had been turned, and a government agency, in a violation of the law as blatant as that committed by the union here, had locked out workers during a contract dispute, do you think Today might have focused more sharply on the illegality of the underlying action?

So do I.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.