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U.S. CEOs Paid 354 Times the Average Rank-and-File Worker-Largest Pay Gap in the World

Searchable CEO-to-worker pay online database exposes growing wealth inequality and need for a fair tax system

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By: AFL-CIO

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 15, 2013 - Coinciding with events by working families across the country on Tax Day, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka unveiled the 2013 Executive PayWatch, revealing that U.S. CEOs of the largest companies made 354 times the average rank-and-file worker—by far the widest pay gap in the world. Last year, CEOs received on average $12.3 million while the average rank-and-file worker took home around $34,645. This new data confirms CEO-to-worker pay disparities have increased dramatically over the past several decades. Thirty years ago, CEOs were paid 42 times that of rank-and-file workers in the U.S.

The newly designed Executive PayWatch is the most comprehensive searchable online database that tracks excessive CEO pay at S&P 500 companies and offers visitors the unique ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives.

In addition to the new data on CEO pay, President Trumka outlined how PayWatch now exposes some of the ways that CEO-backed groups such as the Business Roundtable and Fix the Debt are drumming up a deficit scare to conceal their efforts to get more tax cuts for corporations, while hacking at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits for working people.

"American chief executives continued to do very well for themselves last year, while workers struggle to make ends meet," said Trumka. "We are calling out the hypocrisy of rich CEOs who have the gall to ask for corporate tax cuts to be paid for by squeezing the retirement security of working America. The American public deserves to know the truth about their self-serving agenda."

Closing the corporate tax loophole that allows U.S. multinational companies to avoid taxation on overseas profits would raise $42 billion in new revenue in 2013 alone. But CEO groups like the Campaign to Fix the Debt want to overhaul the tax system so that corporate profits kept overseas are permanently exempt from U.S. taxes.

Trumka also pointed to new features on PayWatch, including the AFL-CIO's Mutual Fund Votes Survey, which examines votes cast by the largest mutual fund families to constrain CEO pay. This new letter grading system will help investors and the public compare how specific mutual fund families voted on executive compensation issues.

Finally, for the first time an interactive map allows users to compare and contrast CEO pay ratios of top executive all over the world.

"Not only is U.S. CEO pay out-of whack with historical norms, it is off the chart globally. For example, in Switzerland, where voters recently imposed new limits on executive pay, the CEO-to-worker pay gap is 148 times. In the United Kingdom, the CEO-to-worker pay gap is one-quarter as large as ours. And in Japan, the gap is even smaller," said Trumka.

www.paywatch.org

 

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