News Media Guild leaders will survey members on discrimination they’ve experienced or seen and to examine data for any wage disparity in salaries paid to minorities and women.
The decision to conduct the surveys came during the meetings of the Guild’s Executive Committee and Representative Assembly held Aug. 12-14 in Washington, D.C.
Jill Bleed, an EC vice president and a staffer in Little Rock, Arkansas, will analyze the salary data. The Guild’s human rights committee, led by EC vice president Barbara Rodriguez who’s a staffer in Des Moines, Iowa, will lead the survey.
Other NewsGuild-CWA locals have conducted similar studies and found dismaying results. For example, the union that represents journalists at The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s found that Dow Jones, which owns the publications, pay men more than women in jobs of similar tenure.
Male staffers with up to five years of experience, for example, earn an average of 13.5 percent more than female staffers at the same level — and even slightly more than the category of women who’ve been on the job for twice as long.
A Guild examination of hiring by the AP shows that of the Class A employees working 15 or more hours a week, 83 percent are white; 6.7 percent Hispanic; 4.9 percent Asian; and 4.5 percent black.
NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer spoke to the group Saturday, updating them on organizing at the Lakeland Ledger in Florida. The next week, the NewsGuild-CWA announced an organizing drive at another Gatehouse-owned newspaper in Florida, the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota.
In other business, the RA approved a budget for the next fiscal year that includes money for bargaining with The Associated Press; the move of the Guild office; and mobilizing meetings to be held before the AP contract expires Sept. 30, 2017. It also includes money for bargaining with The Guardian-US, which NMG organized last year, and the EFE and UPI units.
The AP is moving its headquarters to lower Manhattan in early 2017, and the Guild lease ends in March. The union wants to move to the same area to be near both AP members and The Guardian staffers whose office is in the same neighborhood.
The leaders also reviewed membership figures and talked about ways to increase union membership, which continues to hover around 60 percent. As AP has continued to cut jobs, the number of Guild-covered staffers has dipped, too. Each delegate agreed to ask at least one non-member to join.
In addition to the elected RA delegates, Guardian staffers Amanda Holpuch and Lauren Gambino attended the meeting. They updated the RA on the status of their bargaining, and Jairo Mejia discussed the ongoing bargaining at EFE.
At the EC meeting on Friday, officers heard from AJ Connelly, who has worked on building a Guild mobilizing structure. Connelly, whose salary is being paid by the NewsGuild-CWA through September, is not only trying to increase membership but build a structure where members take responsibility for growing the union.
One of her most visible efforts has been a Twitter campaign where the Guild promotes stories by members with the hashtag #weareAP.