The HuffPost Union demands that HuffPost and Verizon Media make real commitments to hiring and promoting people of color in our newsroom.
Here are our demands.
We demand that Verizon Media leaders release pay equity data to ensure, as the company claims, that they are paying our staff of color as much as their majority white peers. While our CEO, Guru Gowrappan, has said there is “100% pay equity in salary with respect to race/ethnicity,” the company has repeatedly refused to release the data behind these claims.
Verizon Media leaders say they will not budge on this issue. In response to our written demand, Alex Wallace, Verizon Media’s head of media and content, simply said: “We have done the due diligence across the organization and stand behind our statement.” As journalists whose employers expect us to fact-check the claims that our sources make, we believe this response is unacceptable.
We demand that whenever HuffPost and Verizon Media end the company’s hiring freeze, the company must commit to making sure that at least 50% of hires over the next two years are non-white. This is necessary to rectify the severe under-representation of Black and Latinx staff in our newsroom. Furthermore, several teams have zero Black or Latinx employees, and we ask that Verizon Media make an exception to the hiring freeze to urgently bring in more staff of color.
In response, Alex Wallace, Verizon Media’s head of media and content, told us that the company “will not be setting up hiring targets” and will only be partnering with the HuffPost Union to “ensure that we identify, hire, develop and promote more diverse talent.” We don’t believe this is possible without agreeing to firm hiring targets.
We demand that Verizon Media grant at least half the promotions over the next two years at HuffPost to employees of color, so that our newsroom can create clear pathways for upward mobility to retain people of color and to remedy the under-representation of Black and Latinx staff in senior positions. HuffPost has lost at least 28 members of color in the last two years — many of whom have pointed to the lack of career growth as a major reason for their departure.
Alex Wallace, Verizon Media’s head of media and content, refused to make a specific, accountable commitment to promote staff of color. She noted that the company believes “it’s important to build up your education and awareness around diversity and inclusion and systemic racism” in order to be a better ally. But part of being a better ally means knowing that a failure to provide upward career mobility only contributes to systemic racism.
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