Executive Pay Watch: High Paid CEOs and The Low-Wage Economy

An example of the income disparity between the average corporate CEO and the average worker

An example of the income disparity between the average corporate CEO and the average worker

In 2013 the CEO to worker pay ratio was 331:1 and the CEO to minimum wage worker pay ratio was 774:1. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, a country where hard work and playing by the rules would provide working families a middle-class standard of living. But in recent decades, corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie while wages have stagnated and unemployment remains high.

High-paid CEOs of low-wage employers are fueling this growing economic inequality. In 2013, CEOs of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index companies received, on average, $11.7 million in total compensation, according to the AFL-CIO’s analysis of available data from 350 companies.

Today’s ratio of CEO-to-worker pay is simply unconscionable. While CEO pay remains in the stratosphere, production and nonsupervisory workers took home only $35,239 on average in 2013, and a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage earned only $15,080.

Even as companies argue that they can’t afford to raise wages, the nation’s largest companies are earning higher profits per employee than they did five years ago. In 2013, the S&P 500 Index companies earned $41,249 in profits per employee, a 38% increase.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Politicians should raise the minimum wage. Corporations should pay their employees a living wage. And workers should have a collective voice on the job to demand their fair share.


Leader of the American Labor Movement Supports Local Efforts

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka addresses the COPE 2014 Awards Dinner Saturday night

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka addresses the COPE 2014 Awards Dinner Saturday night

In a keynote address to this year’s South Bay Labor Council awards dinner, National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka offered firey support to the ongoing efforts to raise wages for all workers in Silicon Valley, especially the low paid workers who make the tech industry and local communities run.

“Every job in Silicon Valley, not just the high-dollar jobs of the lucky few, every job should support families and communities.  That’s not too much to ask.”  Trumka said.

Specifically, he pointed out the campaign to help Silicon Valley security officers, who guard some of the most prosperous tech companies in the world, organize for better treatment and conditions at their workplaces.

Trumka declared, “If you’re a security guard at one of the high-tech firms, you’re providing an essential service.  There’s no reason you should work full-time but live in poverty.  And that’s why I’m so glad that the South Bay Labor Council is working to help security guards in Silicon Valley who want to organize and unionize in order to have better working conditions.” Continue reading

Rep. Mike Honda Earns Endorsement of California Democratic Party


Congressman Mike Honda received the sole endorsement of the California Democratic Party (CDP) for his re-election in California’s 17th Congressional District. The endorsement follows an overwhelming show of support for Honda at last month’s Pre-Endorsement Caucus, where 92% of Democrats from the 17th District voted for him.

John Burton, CDP Chairman, had this to say, immediately following Rep. Honda’s endorsement:

 “Our country needs more leaders like Mike Honda, who works hard, behind the scenes if necessary, and delivers results for his constituents and our country. From his passionate work on educational equity, to expanding Social Security benefits for our seniors, to his unfailing advocacy of equal treatment for all people, Mike embodies the best values of our Party. He will have the full force of the California Democratic Party behind him in his re-election campaign.”

The support of the California Democratic Party adds important resources to Rep. Honda’s re-election campaign, from thousands of dedicated Party volunteers and donors to the use of field offices throughout the district.

Income Inequality Hurts Growth; Redistribution Doesn’t

A new report from researchers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finds that not only is rising inequality a drag on economic growth, but that policies designed to lessen inequality through a moderate level of redistribution do not slow growth. While the report is clear in stating it isn’t the official opinion or policy of the IMF, researchers Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg and Charalambos G. Tsangarides make a compelling case that austerity policies are bad for economic growth and that it isn’t just morally sound to reduce income inequality, it’s the economically wise choice, too. While countries have pursued policies focused heavily on deficit reduction and lower government spending, the new report suggests those legislative priorities may be the wrong approach to economic growth, joining a growing chorus of evidence from economic analysts that is pushing for a move away from austerity.

Consolidating Fire Services in Santa Clara County Makes Sense


By Dave Cortese 

Seconds count. That’s the undisputed truth when residents are confronted with an emergency and call 911. They need a firefighter, paramedic, police officer or sheriff as fast as possible. Period. It’s local government’s job to ensure that first responders have every tool necessary to get to emergencies quickly. Specifically, Santa Clara County has contracts with local fire departments requiring them to respond in eight minutes for 90 percent of emergency medical calls. When the standard is met, they receive a first responder fee from the county. Continue reading

Teachers Want More Accountability for Charter Schools

AFT President Randi Weingarten

AFT President Randi Weingarten


AFT and In the Public Interest launched a new website Thursday, Cashing in on Kids, to track charter schools and the private companies that often run them on a for-profit basis. The two groups argue that corporate-run charter schools are doing a bad job of serving students and that there is little accountability for these companies. In particular, the website will track K12 Inc., Academics, Imagine Schools, Charter Schools USA and White Hat Management.

AFT President Randi Weingarten says:

This is a simple exercise of following the money. How many times do people simply get up on a pedestal and say we care about kids, and then you realize that they care about profits, they care about tax deductions, they care about privatizing the public system?…If accountability and transparency should go all ways, let’s look at the accountability and transparency in terms of charter schools, not just in terms of public schools.


IBEW Stands with UAW, Calls for New Volkswagen Vote

Volkswagen Union


The United Auto Workers is asking the National Labor Relations Board to set aside the results of the certification election at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. assembly plant decided after a three-day vote Feb. 14.

Workers at the plant voted 712-626 against joining the UAW after a high-profile campaign that saw Tennessee politicians and private interest groups repeatedly threatening the future of the plant if workers voted to unionize.

The UAW’s objection, filed Feb. 21, says the threats were a “coordinated and widely-publicized coercive campaign [creating] a general atmosphere of fear or reprisal rendering a free election impossible.”

They are asking the NLRB to investigate the campaign and hold new elections. Continue reading