DISCRIMINATION GRIEVANCE FILED
The Guild has exercised its authority under our collective bargaining agreement to file a grievance against The Inquirer for violation of Article 2, which prohibits discrimination against our members. The aggrieved member, who is Black, is paid less than a white colleague with less experience performing the same job. For months, the Guild has attempted to get the company to correct this inequity but it has refused to do so. The Executive Board unanimously voted Wednesday to proceed with a grievance.
It is particularly disturbing that the Guild is forced to take this action only days after The Inquirer published a detailed account of the newspaper’s history as a racist institution and its current efforts at so-called reckoning to change an entrenched culture of racism. Like the author Wesley Lowery asked in the article, we also want to know “can The Inquirer really become an anti-racist institution?” We are looking for more than lip service; we want tangible action that shows that the company is truly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.
In an apology Wednesday to Philadelphia’s Black residents and communities and to The Inquirer’s Black journalists, past and present, Publisher Lisa Hughes acknowledged that the paper has failed the Black community and the dedicated Black journalists who work here. We only wish that her actions spoke louder than her carefully penned words about “a More Perfect Union.”
While some improvements have been made since the “Buildings Matter, too” headline in 2020, analyses still show that on average many minorities continue to be paid less than nonminorities in the newsroom and elsewhere in the company.
When will the paper live up to its motto of being an “Inquirer for all?”
In order to move forward, the paper must do more to eliminate the discriminatory practices and the racist culture that permeate its foundation. Studies, content audits and cultural competency sessions are just a start to begin to scratch the surface. It is time to do more than just talk the talk, but walk that walk. An easy place to start is with salaries. Pay minorities fairly, in line with their white counterparts who are performing the same job but receiving higher compensation. It’s the right thing to do.
The Guild has requested a meeting with management as soon as possible to address this grievance. We encourage members who believe they are being discriminated against, in violation of our contract, to contact us immediately. We will not keep silent on this issue.
Yours in solidarity,
The Guild Executive Board
Diane Mastrull, President
Bill Ross, Executive Director