New AFL-CIO site shows soaring CEO compensation

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executive paywatch

The AFL-CIO has launched its 2012 AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch site—now called CEO Pay and the 99%—which includes the most comprehensive data available on 2011 executive pay. All the data available is searchable by industry, by state and by the top 100 highest-paid CEOs.

The site shows that the CEO of a company in the S&P 500 Index, on average, received $12.9 million in total compensation in 2011. That's a 14 percent raise over the previous year. And it's on top of a 23 percent increase in 2010.

In stark contrast, the average wage for workers hovered at $34,000 in 2011. Those who are employed received an average 2.8 percent raise—barely keeping up with inflation. Over the past decade, median household income has fallen $3,700.

The new site also features data on:

Swelling corporate cash stockpiles. Corporations have a record $2.2 trillion in cash on their balance sheets, according to the Federal Reserve. But rather than reinvest this capital to grow our economy and create jobs, CEOs are not deploying these resources.

The widening gap between CEO-to-worker pay. Last year, this ratio of CEO-to-worker pay continued to widen, with the average CEO of a large U.S. company earning an astonishing 380 times the average worker's pay. In 1980, CEOs made 42 times the average wages of workers.

Mutual funds' votes on executive pay. Mutual funds wield enormous clout on CEO pay issues, in part because of the new "say-on-pay" requirement that shareholders cast an advisory vote on CEO pay. In this new section, investors can look up how their mutual funds voted and ask their mutual funds to vote against runaway CEO pay levels.

The shady world of private equity, which Mitt Romney's candidacy for president has brought to light.

The site also includes an action component to rein in out-of-control CEO pay. You can send an e-mail to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission urging 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. [AFL-CIO]

April 19, 2012