I'm in a private Slack with some other media/journalist people, and someone brought up the idea of pay transparency. After all: if you don't know what your colleagues are being paid, it's hard to negotiate for a fair rate. We're all conditioned to believe that our financials should be private, but as far as salaries are concerned, that secrecy only ever tends to work in favor of your employer.
So this particular someone made a Google Form and a corresponding spreadsheet where journalists and other media professionals could anonymously add their salary information. And in barely 24 hours, it's spread to CJR and Bloomberg and even inspired Mike Cernovich to go off on some completely unsubstantiated rant to set off his army of loyal trolls because apparently all journalists are scum and also trustfund babies even though there isn't any proof of that (and I can personally assure you that my personal information is on that list and that my public school teacher mom and print salesman dad are not rolling in the dough).
As of this writing, more than 200 people have responded. On one hand, it is admittedly difficult to verify the claims contained within the data. On the other hand, there's still lots of eye-opening information to glean. Unsurprisingly, there are pay disparities across race and gender; but the same thing happens across geographic location, and work experience. Perhaps the most shocking revelation so far is just the absurd range of income of people working in news media. Read the rest
Boston Symphony Orchestra principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe is suing her employers for $200,000 in damages. The reason: her closest counterpart in the orchestra, a man, is making a shitload more money for doing almost the same damn job as she does. Rowe’s lawsuit was filed one day after the state of Massachusetts brought its equal pay law into effect. Before slamming the Boston Symphony Orchestra with her suit, Rowe attempted, on a number of occasions, to sort the issue of the pay gap out amiably and out of court. Since the Orchestra wouldn’t own up and do the right thing, I suspect they will now be skinned alive under the state’s wicked harsh new pay equality laws.
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Rowe was hired for the Boston Symphony's top flutist job in 2004 — a high-profile and extremely competitive position at one of the world's foremost orchestras. According to her suit, she has been profiled as a soloist with the orchestra 27 times in the years since she was hired — more than any other BSO principal musician — and that the orchestra has repeatedly highlighted her in its marketing, publicity and social media materials.
Rowe says that she is currently the top-paid female principal player in the BSO, while the BSO's principal oboist, John Ferrillo, is the symphony's top-paid male principal musician. According to the BSO's 2016 IRS Form 990, Ferrillo was paid $286,621, the largest salary paid to any BSO principal musician. (Violinist Malcolm Lowe — the orchestra's concertmaster, who serves as something of a liaison between the symphony's musicians and its conductor — earned $415,402 in 2016.)
In this new article for New York magazine, activist and writer Brittany Packnett challenges white women to bring more nuance to the fight for equal pay. After all, although the most commonly cited statistic about equal pay is that women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, that statistic only applies to white women. Black women make 65 cents while Latina women make just 58 cents. And as Packnett points out, “Asian-American, Pacific Islander, and Native women are often not even considered ‘statistically significant’ enough to be calculated.” Packnett also writes:
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Just like the “all lives matter” choir, the “but all women” crowd tends to shout women with marginalized identities along the lines of race, sexuality, class, and physical ability back into silence. They were there in suffrage. They overwhelmed the Women’s March despite the planners’ intentions. They repeatedly ignored our pleas on November 8 that Trump was exponentially more dangerous to the rest of us. They love to tweet me platitudes about color-blindness. They insist this is in the name of unity, but it feels awfully like the spirit of supremacy. We will not end supremacy by perpetuating it. You cannot dismantle oppression while you practice it. When I hear “but all women,” I’m reminded that these women are willing to fight for their dollar but not mine. Ignoring labor cries for a livable $15 an hour reminds women of color — who proportionally out-populate white women in labor fields — that they don’t matter to the cause.