Phillip Mendonça-Vieira

How Strikes Are Covered in the Media

HOST: To talk about the ongoing labour dispute, we’ve reached Mr. CEO. Mr CEO, why are we about to see service disruptions?

CEO: Well, we’ve been at the bargaining table for months, and we’ve made some proposals we think are fair. Seeing as the other side won’t budge, and their membership voted to enable a strike, we’ve been left with no choice but to preemptively break the union by locking them out.

HOST: What are the issues at stake?

CEO: As you can plainly see from my fairly disingenuous presentation of the numbers, we’re just about on the verge of bankruptcy — as far as salaries and pensions are concerned. We’ve just don’t have any more money, for salaries and pensions.

HOST: Thank you, Mr. CEO. On the other line we have UNION LOCAL SPOKESPERSON WITH ZERO MEDIA EXPERIENCE, hello — can you tell us why you’ve gone on strike?

UNION: We’re not on strike. We’ve been locked out.

<awkward pause>

HOST: Yes, well, but why haven’t you negotiated an agreement by now?

UNION: All of their proposals that don’t harm current workers create a second tier of compensation whereby new workers get shitty wages and pensions — pitting one generation against the other and ringing the death knell of my organization. This is bad.

HOST: What about the fact that they’re out of money, for salaries and pensions?

UNION: The CEO lied. Their numbers are outrageously disingenuous, and as you can see from our slightly misleading figures our proposals are reasonable and we should be OK.

HOST: But what of the people affected by this service disruption?

UNION: <unsympathetic divagation about labour law details audience doesn’t understand, exhortation for solidarity>

HOST: Whelp we’re just about running out of time Mr. UNION LOCAL SPOKESPERSON, because we now have a bullshit man on the street segment. Linda?

LINDA: I’m standing here in front of BUSY TRANSIT HUB and we’ve been speaking to COMMUTERS.

DUDE IN SPORTS JERSEY 1: I have no idea what this is about.

BUSINESS CASUAL LADY 2: I thought I was affected by this but on close inspection am actually not.

FROTHING IDIOT 3: What I don’t understand is why should they get pensions using my tax dollars when the rest of us honest folk don’t?

LINDA: As you can see, HOST, opinions are divided!

HOST: Thank you, Linda. We’ll keep an eye out on this situation as the labour unrest unfolds.

# 2016-07-05