Fox Business News recently ran a segment criticizing a collective bargaining agreement struck between workers and management in New York City's hotel industry. Analysts on the program called the deal "a nightmare," singling out the provisions raising wages for housekeepers as "shocking." Fox's reaction is consistent with its past coverage of worker's issues, which has portrayed union efforts to secure higher wages and benefits for the working class as an affront to capitalism.
The agreement between the New York Hotel Trades Council A.F.L.-C.I.O, the union representing workers in New York's hotel industry, and the Hotel Association of New York, the trade group representing hotel owners, gives housekeepers a 29% raise in their current salary over seven years, giving them a salary of $59,823 by the time the CBA expires.
Fox Targets Living Wages for Maids, Defends the Rich
Contrary to what Fox implied, hotel owners did not view the terms of the agreement as onerous. Management has publicly voiced its satisfaction with the deal. Joseph E. Spinnato, President of the Hotel Association described the deal as "good for our members, the union, and the city of New York."
The pay increases are hardly "shocking" considering that the current pay for housekeepers of $46,337 is actually slightly below the median income of workers in the state of New York.
Fox appears to believe that a maid living on $60,000 in New York City is overpaid. But in February 2010, on the same program, Fox Business Analyst Chris Cotter claimed that living on $250,000 is "very, very tough" in New York. He made this claim to argue against an effort to raise taxes on the very wealthy.
In that case and others, Fox has vehemently attacked any effort to raise taxes on the wealthy or rein in excessive executive compensation. For example, in a 2009 segment about Obama's proposals to regulate bonuses for executives, Gretchen Carlson of Fox and Friends questioned the policy, asking "If the government controls how much they can get paid does that eliminate the motivation to actually work hard?"
The apparent bias towards the rich in Fox's reporting seems to be based on the notion that CEO's actually "earn" their pay in the free market, whereas housekeepers and other unionized employees do not because they bargain collectively.
Regardless of how Fox chooses to spin it, the ability of housekeepers in New York City to secure a living wage for themselves was a major success story in a time when working people are being hard pressed across the nation.