New Executive PayWatch Site Shows Increase in CEO Pay for Second Consecutive Year

A CEO of a company in the S&P 500 Index, on average, received $12.9 million in total compensation in 2011, according to the AFL-CIO’s new Executive PayWatch website.

That’s nearly a 14 percent raise over the previous year. And that’s on top of a 23 percent increase in 2010.

In stark contrast, median household income fell $3,700 over the past decade and the average wage for workers hovered at $34,000 in 2011. And those who are employed received an average 2.8 percent raise—barely keeping up with inflation. The ratio of CEO to worker pay is now 380 to 1.

The newly-designed Executive PayWatch, a searchable online database, provides direct comparison of top CEO pay to the average wages of workers, such as a nurse, teacher, firefighter and others.

“Astronomical CEO pay is based on the false idea that the success of a corporation is due to one CEO genius,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “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 further widening gap between CEO-to-worker pay to an astonishing 380 times is simply bad for our economy.”  

New features on PayWatch include data exposing corporations who are stockpiling huge amounts of cash instead of hiring workers. Corporate cash levels have reached a record $2.2 trillion and another $1.5 trillion for banks in excess reserves. The site highlights companies, such as Verizon Communications, with the highest cash hoards and have still cut jobs. Verizon’s cash holdings and short term investments grew 311 percent to $14 billion between 2007 and 2011, yet the company thinned its employment rolls by 17.5 percent.

PayWatch also examines the world of private equity executive pay, an area that has operated in the shadows until Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy began raising more serious questions about its practices.

Take action to rein in out-of-control CEO pay by sending an e-mail to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and urge it to implement the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s requirement that public companies disclose their ratio of CEO-to-worker pay.

Visit the 2012 Executive PayWatch website here.