Guild finds pay lagging for Times minority, women workers

05/12/2016

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A pervasive pattern spanning news, business sides

Union-represented minority employees at The New York Times earn 10 percent less than the average wage, and women earn about 7 percent less than what men in the union are paid, according to an analysis of wage data made public on Thursday by the New York NewsGuild.

The disparities persist regardless of whether the job is male- or female-dominated, whether it is a high-paid or a low-paid job, and the number of years at the company, according to the analysis, which was conducted by researchers at the Communications Workers of America, the Guild’s parent union, at the Guild’s request.

In addition, women and people of color are more likely to hold low-paying jobs and are much less prevalent in high-paying positions. Minority workers are “vastly over-represented in the lowest paid jobs at the NYT,” such as News Assistants and Help Desk Analysts, the CWA researchers concluded, but hard to find among Critics, Reporters or Sales Planners.

Women, who make up 46 percent of the Guild-represented workforce, are similarly under-represented as Reporters, Critics and Graphics Editors, the report found.

“The highest-paid jobs are dominated by men,” the analysis concluded. The study examined the pay of The Times’s more than 1,100 Guild-represented employees, taking into account their gender, race or ethnicity, age, job status (full-time, part-time or temporary), years at The Times and job title. The analysis did not include employees who are considered management or excluded from bargaining unit.

TIMES TO DO ITS OWN ANALYSIS
The Guild presented the findings to The Times on May 2 and had a brief follow-up meeting on May 5. Senior management said the company is taking the report seriously, but cautioned that more data is needed to understand the situation. Management said the study is incomplete because factors like education and previous experience were not taken into account. Management committed to conducting its own pay study of the Guild-represented workforce, but could not provide a timetable for it.

"We believe that we can perform a thorough analysis so that we can all gain a better understanding of the current state of affairs, but will need a good deal of time to gather information and to verify all data points,” said Terry Hayes, senior vice president for labor relations. “When that data is considered it may be that the Guild will have to reconsider its numbers.”

New York NewsGuild President Peter Szekely called management’s response a good first step.

"It’s encouraging that management is taking our salary study seriously," said Szekely."But examining other factors will not necessarily explain away or justify the pay gaps. More likely, it will just show how the disparities originated. We’re still going to have to work on closing the gaps."

Grant Glickson, chairman of  the Times unit of the Guild, added: "When companies pay employees based solely on incoming salaries or competing offers or other factors, they are not acknowledging the legacy of bias that people of color and women have already faced in their careers. Instead, they should be thinking about what the job is worth to the company, or what the average employee in that position receives, and paying their employees in line with what that should be."

Although the Guild and The Times have negotiated pay scales with minimum salaries for each job, most reporters and many other employees are paid above those minimum rates.

People of color make up about 22 percent of union employees at the Times. The pay disparity varies depending on race and ethnicity: Hispanic workers fared the poorest, earning only about 84 percent of the average. African-American employees earned about 89 percent of the average, while white workers earned 103 percent and Asians earned 98 percent.

The Times’s gender wage gap is wider than at several other companies that have recently gone public with their pay equity data, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and The Gap, all of which say that they have eliminated their pay disparities. The Wall Street Journal recently pledged to erase its race and gender pay gap after its union reported that members faced significant disparities.

At the Times, the largest pay gap for women occurs among those who have been at the Times the longest – more than 20 years – where women earn 89 percent of the average male wage, according to the report, which relied on pay data from October of 2015. The pay gaps for women with six to 20 years of service, on the other hand, ranged from 2 to 4 percent.

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