Washington’s CEOs paid 111 times more than the average worker
(May 18, 2015) — According to the AFL-CIO’s annual Executive PayWatch report, S&P 500 CEOs in Washington state made an average of $5,597,954 in 2014 — 111 times more than the average worker, who made $50,578. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella topped the state’s 2014 list, raking in $84,308,755. Meanwhile, only two of the 59 S&P CEOs in Washington were women: Linda Massman of Clearwater Paper Corp. in Spokane and Melanie Dressel of Columbia Banking System in Tacoma.
The Executive Paywatch report, the most comprehensive searchable online database that tracks CEO pay at S&P 500 companies, showed that nationally in 2014 the average worker earned approximately $36,000 per year while CEO pay averaged $13.5 million per year, a ratio which has grown to 373-to-1.
“Massive pay raises for Washington’s corporate CEOs while too many struggle to get by shows what happens when the deck is stacked against working families,” said Lynne Dodson, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Washington state residents deserve better. Only by having our voices heard through strong collective action will we see wages raise, rights restored, and workers finally get the dignity and respect they’ve earned.”
Mega-retailer Walmart, highlighted in this year’s PayWatch, represents one of the most egregious examples of CEO-to-worker pay inequality. CEO Douglas McMillon earns $9,323 an hour, compared to $9 for a beginning employee salary. A new employee would have to work for 1,036 hours just to equal the pay McMillon earns in one hour. PayWatch also highlights the wealth of the six Walton family members who have more wealth than 43 percent of America’s families combined.
“America faces an income inequality crisis because corporate CEOs have taken the raising wages agenda and applied it only to themselves,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Big corporations spend freely on executive perks and powerful lobbyists to strip rights from workers, but when it comes to helping to lift the wages of workers that make their companies run, they’re nowhere to be found. Too often workers are seen as costs to be cut, rather than assets to be invested in. Americans deserve better from those who have earned so much off the backs of working men and women, and we must start by adding transparency to the CEO pay process and requiring companies disclose their CEO to median employee pay ratios.”
More information about Walmart’s massive CEO-to-worker pay disparity and inequality among S&P 500 companies can be found at www.paywatch.org.