New York Times gives 'significantly lower ratings to employees of color': Report

Employee ratings are used to determine promotions and yearly bonuses, the union stated

Updated: August 25, 2022 - 11:34am

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The New York Times has for year given "significantly lower ratings" to employees who are racial minorities, according to a report from a union representing the paper's employees.

In 2020, not a single black employee received the highest rating by the media outlet, while white employees accounted for more than 90% of those who received the top score, the NewsGuild union wrote in a report published Tuesday.

"White Guild members, on average, receive higher ratings than their colleagues of color," the union wrote. "These findings showed up under a variety of different methodological approaches, including those suggested by the company itself."

Employee ratings are used to determine promotions and yearly bonuses, the union stated.

"In one particularly egregious case, Black employees were 20 times as likely to get the bottom rating, and yet the company’s methodology failed to find statistically significant bias," the union wrote about the paper, considered among the most liberal-leaning in the country. 

"Although my work consistently performed well with readers and earned high-level praise, my scores did not reflect said a Times employee of color, who asked to remain anonymous.

Times Executive Director Elise Baron said during a bargaining session last year said the newspaper doesn't give a quota for ratings.

"We have never told any managers 'You can only give so many of a rating,' " she said. "We ask questions, like ‘Does this really fit the description of the rating? Can you give me examples?' But we never, ever come back and say, 'You need to change this, the rating is too high.'"

In response to NewsGuild's report, the Times has agreed to create a committee with half union members and half management representatives. 

"This is a good step, but the Guild believes discussions will be fruitless if the company continues to ignore the disparities revealed in the review process," the union wrote. "The Guild is seeking a commitment to analyze the system using multiple methods, rather than the company’s flawed approach."

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