That’s what black women in the U.S. earn for every dollar earned by white men.
And it’s happening in the news business.
Studies conducted by The NewsGuild-CWA show that at news organizations across the country, women and people of color, on average, are paid less than their coworkers.
And in an industry that demands transparency and accountability from government and business, that’s simply unacceptable.
“If this were any other industry, we would be exposing disparity in salaries. And we would be exposing it for the purpose of change.
“We should be doing that in our industry as well.”
— Errin Haines, editor-at-large, The 19th
That’s exactly what we’re doing.
We have already made progress
Union locals have gained access to pay data, noted discrepancies, armed our members with the information needed to win raises, and negotiated salaries and hiring practices that promote diversity.
Although management rarely admits that pay disparities exist, they often grant raises to individuals when confronted with the Guild’s analysis of the data.
Los Angeles Times
In November 2020, the journalists of the Los Angeles Times won a decisive victory for pay equity when owners of the Times and Tribune Publishing agreed to pay $3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that women and journalists of color were paid less than their white male counterparts.
“The matter of pay equity has always been uncomfortable for much of my nearly 40 years at the Times. Being one of the few people of color in the entertainment section, I always suspected that my white colleagues doing the same job were being paid more than me. For many years, I was denied a merit raise because I was told my work was not worthy of being rewarded, and my insecurities allowed that to continue even though the work of my colleagues was comparable to mine. It was certainly a sore spot for me, which eventually led to me being one of the lead plaintiffs in the class action suit in the pay disparity lawsuit against the Times that was recently resolved.”
— Greg Braxton, television writer/Calendar section
A 2018 study by the Los Angeles Times Guild found that women and people of color in the newsroom made less than white men. On average, women earned approximately 86% of what men earned; people of color earned roughly 86% of what white people earned, and women of color made less than 70 percent of what white men earned.
Although the Los Angeles Times Guild did not have “standing” to participate in the suit, the Guild report gave impetus to the lawsuit.
And during bargaining for the Guild’s first contract with the L.A. Times, the union used the data to negotiate a provision that requires managers, whenever possible, to interview at least two candidates who are women or members of traditionally underrepresented groups. It also requires management to form a joint diversity committee with the Guild.
Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News
“It was stunning news to find out that my pay isn’t comparable to some of my colleagues. Absolutely stunning. Initially my concern was personal. But this is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of the day for women and journalists of color.
“I turned my anger into action, and now I am on a mission with The NewsGuild to fight for pay equity.”
— Melanie Burney, education reporter, Philadelphia Inquirer
NewsGuild members at the Philadelphia Inquirer have narrowed a gender-based pay gap considerably since the Guild’s first pay study in 2016. During bargaining, the union highlighted inequities for women and people of color and proposed individual pay adjustments to address the disparities, an examination of recruitment practices and re-establishment of a Diversity Committee.
Salaries for newly hired female reporters, where the gap was 16 percent, are now on par with salaries for male reporters with the same experience. A sizable gap among editors with 15-20 years of service has narrowed from 12.9% to 3.5%. Male editors, who were making an average of approximately $12,000 more than female editors in 2018, earned an average of $2,000 more in 2019. The gap for people of color has narrowed slightly, from 16.5% to 12%. The number of female employees in the newsroom has increased from 37% to 43%. The number of people of color increased from 13.5% to 19.2%. The union continues to fight for equity adjustments and merit increases.
The Wall Street Journal
A 2018 study by IAPE1096, The NewsGuild local that represents workers at Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones properties, showed that median pay for full-time male newsroom employees was more than 15% higher than for female employees and median pay for white employees was nearly 17% more than for employees of color in the second quarter of the year.
Following an earlier study, management refused to acknowledge inequities, but granted raises totaling $270,000 to 31 of 1,300 IAPE-represented employees, including at least one increase of 27 percent or approximately $14,870. Since then, NewsGuild members have won additional across-the-board raises and are continuing to fight for pay fairness.
A detailed 2019 study by the Washington Post Guild that revealed widespread inequities affecting women and people of color resulted in numerous recommendations from union members about how to address the problem. The study includes an explanation of the methodology used and a link to the formulas and software.
Studies at the Bloomberg Industry Group, San Francisco Chronicle and Minneapolis Star Tribune also found that women and people of color earned less than their counterparts.
“After we organized our union, we received records that confirmed what I had long suspected: I was the lowest paid person on my team – and the only woman. I used the information to negotiate a five-figure raise. Had we not organized, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.”
– Daniela Altimari, politics reporter, Hartford Courant
But there’s still a long way to go…
Our power to win equal pay and fair employment practices rests on our ability to demand transparency, expose unfair pay practices, and demand that management address the problem across the board.
How we fight for equal pay:
Have the Conversation
- Talk with your coworkers. If you suspect there are disparities in pay – and there probably are – discuss the situation with your colleagues.
- If you work at a NewsGuild-represented publication, talk with unit leaders. Let them know your concerns.
- If you work at a non-union publication, it’s time to get organized! Contact the NewsGuild to have a confidential conversation about how to make it happen.
Get the Information
Pay information must be made available to union officers at NewsGuild-repreented publications upon request.
- The NewsGuild encourages all union locals to request pay information from management.
- Using the information provided by management, conduct pay equity studies – or seek assistance from the national union.
- Analyze the pay studies and report the results to NewsGuild members and the national union.
- Wherever pay inequities are found, organize a public pressure campaign to expose and oppose them.
- Offer wage assessments to individuals who believe their pay is unfair.
- Highlight pay disparities and propose contractual remedies, including wage adjustments, ongoing monitoring, establishment of hiring practices that promote diversity, and formation of diversity committees. Negotiate robust anti-discrimination language protects women, people of color, transgender and gender nonconforming people.
“As a reporter who is way too familiar with being the only Latina in a newsroom, the issue of pay equity was a big reason I asked to join the team negotiating our first contract.”
— Ana Ley, local government reporter, The Virginian-Pilot
“A female co-worker seemed uncomfortable when she approached me in the parking lot and asked me how much money I made. I made a lot more than she did, even though we had the same educational experience and she had more work experience. Similar conversations with the same results sparked our union campaign. Fighting for equal pay is now a priority for our union.”
— Dusty Christensen, staff writer, Daily Hampshire Gazette
“As a woman of color, I’m proud to belong to a union that fights for the same pay for the same experience.”
– Mallika Sen, editor, Associated Press