Times squanders chance for wage gap progress
New York, New York — In a dismissive response to The NewsGuild of New York’s concerns about wage gaps, The New York Times has squandered an opportunity to have a full discussion with its largest union on critical pay equity issues.
A Guild study in May examined bargaining unit wages, finding that minority employees earn 10 percent less than the average wage and women earn about 7 percent less than men.
Citing its own analysis in a message to all employees on Friday, the company said it “found no evidence of discrimination in how employees are compensated in the groups we have examined.”
“No evidence of discrimination” doesn’t address the fact that pay equity is a problem at the Times, said New York Guild President Peter Szekely and Grant Glickson, chair of the Guild’s New York Times unit.
“We presented our results to the Times and gave the company more than a week to respond before we went public with our study last spring,” Szekely said. “The company didn’t give us that courtesy, although we hope they will meet with us going forward.”
He said the Guild “knew our results were going to be limited because the data available to us was limited. But we stand by our finding that wage gaps are a problem at the Times. The company’s posturing about not discriminating doesn’t make the inequities disappear.”
Glickson said that the union’s study, “never alleged discrimination,” a point the company missed. Still, “setting such a low bar of not violating any discrimination laws should not be the company’s goal.”
"The study was produced to open a dialogue about a subject that is very important to our membership,” he said. “The fact that the company issued its study without even contacting us makes me believe that this important message was lost on management. We will be sure to point out that disconnect and push management to reopen that dialogue."
The Times' response failed to address the union’s findings that women and members of minority groups are more likely to hold lower-paying jobs at the company.
The Guild study, conducted for the local by researchers at its parent union, the Communications Workers of America in Washington, D.C., showed that men dominate the highest-paid jobs at the Times. It found that minority workers are “vastly over-represented in the lowest-paid jobs,” such as news assistants and help desk analysts, but harder to find among reporters, critics or sales planners.
Even though the company largely dismissed the Guild’s study, it plans to adjust pay for “a small number of employees.” Management has yet to reveal further details about that or other parts of its analysis.
In its message to workers, management said it recognizes that the Times needs “to do a better job explaining to our employees the process by which compensation is set across the company.”
The Guild agrees, and urges the Times to take the important first step of meeting with the union and sharing the company’s data.
“We call on the Times to demonstrate the transparency it rightly demands of others in its role as one of the nation’s premier news organizations,” Szekely said.
About NewsGuild of New York
The NewsGuild, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, represents nearly 3,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, The Daily Beast and Time Inc.
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