Pay gap between CEOs and workers reaches record high

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The 2013 edition of the AFL-CIO's Executive Paywatch, launched this year on Tax Day, shows no end to the trend of soaring CEO pay and stagnant pay for the average worker.

In 1982, the average CEO earned 42 times that of the average worker. By 2012, the gap had reached 354 times. Put in current dollar terms, the CEO of a Standard & Poor's 500 index company earned $12.3 million in total compensation last year, while the average rank-and-file worker earned $36,654.

"Runaway CEO pay is fueling economic inequality in the U.S. and undermining our shared prosperity," says AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. "In addition, high levels of CEO pay can encourage excessive risk by CEOs, which hurts the long-term prospects of the companies they run."

As with past editions, the Executive Paywatch site lets you compare your pay and benefits package to that of a CEO, search the CEO pay database, and take action to rein in CEO pay.

The site also offers new features this year, including details on the multimillion-dollar retirement nest eggs of the leading Business Roundtable CEOs—the same group that wants to cut Social Security benefits; the records of 40 of the largest mutual funds and their votes on CEO pay proposals for the companies in which they invest; CEO-worker pay gaps around the world; and trends on CEO pay.

In addition, the report takes a closer look at the Campaign to Fix the Debt, the corporate front group that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare and lower corporate taxes. It turns out that Fix the Debt's CEOs have parked more than $418 billion of untaxed corporate profits overseas. Overall, it is estimated that U.S. corporations have as much as $1.9 trillion sheltered overseas. That would make a nice down payment on fixing the debt. [AFL-CIO, Dan Gursky]

April 16, 2013