Thursday, November 17, 2005

NPR Duped Into Playing Delta's Union Blame Game

Delta Airlines is the only legacy carrier where only the pilots are in a union, which has helped them win some of the highest wages in the industry. So, it's no surprise the bankrupt airline wants to slash their pay 20 percent.
But in a report on yesterday's bankruptcy-court hearing where Delta sought to have the pilots' contract voided, NPR this morning made mistake after mistake, which -- even if unintentionally -- stacked the report against the pilots' position.
First, Renee Montagne's story introduction called the Air Line Pilots Association "one of Delta's most important unions," when it's actually the only one.
Then, in Jim Zarroli's report, he said the airline "has already won wage concessions from some employees." The more accurate statement would have been that Delta imposed wage cuts on its employees.
Later, he said pilots made an average of "almost $170,000" a year, when Delta itself said its average pilot pay is $149,520, according to today's Wall Street Journal.
That's a lot of facts to get wrong in a short space, something that's especially problematic when the rhetoric and the gamesmanship among both sides in this case is already at a fever pitch.

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