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Harry Reid: Times Editor's Firing Is the 'Perfect Example' of Why We Need to Pass Equal Pay

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. responds to questions about threats he has received that are being investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid says he's received threats mailed to his home that he calls "ugly, vile, vulgar" which cite scripture from the Bible. (AP Photo) AP Photo

Just one day after the New York Times fired its first female executive editor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cited it as a reason for passing a Democratic pay equity law – indicating the paper paid her less than a man would have made.


The Times on Wednesday announced it fired Jill Abramson, its first female top editor, after three years on the job. She was replaced by Times managing editor Dean Baquet, who is now the paper’s first black executive editor.

Reid referred to a New Yorker article that the firing was linked to Abramson complaining that her male predecessor, Bill Keller, earned more than her in pay and benefits.

“The stories are out today that she raised questions about … being paid less for doing the same job that the second in command was and certainly, now, her predecessor got a lot more money than she got,” Reid said, according to The Hill. “It’s a perfect example, if it’s true, why we should pass paycheck equity.”

Fighting hard to defend their Senate majority this year, Democrats have sought opportunities to resurrect the “war on women” theme that proved successful for the party in 2012.

The New Yorker report said Abramson confronted Times management about pay, though presented a more nuanced picture of a financially troubled newspaper scaling back on pay and benefits for executives.

“Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs,” the New Yorker reported. “‘She confronted the top brass,’ one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was ‘pushy,’ a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.

“[Arther] Sulzberger is known to believe that the Times, as a financially beleaguered newspaper, needed to retreat on some of its generous pay and pension benefits; Abramson, who spent much of her career at the Wall Street Journal, had been at the Times for far fewer years than Keller, which accounted for some of the pension disparity,” the New Yorker piece continued.

Earlier this year, Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act from coming to a vote, which would have made it easier to take legal action in pay discrimination suits and protected women employees from retaliation by management.

(H/T: The Hill)

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