AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is urging trade union activists and all others dedicated to restoring fairness to the American economy to access the information contained in the AFL-CIO’s new website, www.PayWatch.org .
According to data released by the AFL-CIO last week, the CEOs of Standard & Poor 500 Index companies received an average of $12.9 million in pay last year, or 380 times the amount earned by the average worker. Thirty years ago, an average CEO made 42 times that of an employee.
While the wages of most middle-class Americans have remained stagnant, the CEOs saw their compensation rise an average of 14 percent in just one year. That follows a boost of just under 23 percent in 2010.
Trumka observed that soaring executive compensation is part of a systematic pattern of abuses and questionable business practices that have become increasingly common in recent years. Just as bad is the refusal of many U.S. companies to invest in jobs and job training at a time when the unemployment rate tops 8 percent.
As Trumka noted, “Astronomical CEO pay is based on the false idea that the success of a corporation is due to one CEO genius. In reality, all employees create value, and CEO pay levels should be more in line with the rest of their company’s employee pay structure. CEOs should be paid as a member of a team, not as a superstar …
“The egregious corporate behavior today goes beyond the enormous levels of compensation for CEOs and glaring inequality in pay for their workers. CEOs are simply hoarding their company’s cash rather than investing capital to grow our economy and create jobs.”