CEOs earn 343 times more than typical workers

By Jennifer Liberto, senior writer


WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- In 2010, chief executives at some of the nation's largest companies earned an average of $11.4 million in total pay -- 343 times more than a typical American worker, according to the AFL-CIO.

"Despite the collapse of the financial market at the hands of executives less than 3 years ago, the disparity between CEO and workers' pay has continued to grow to levels that are simply stunning," said Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president.

In an effort to shine a light on CEO pay, the AFL-CIO examined chief executive salaries at 299 firms traded on the S&P 500. Their compensation was up 23% in 2010, compared to 2009. AFL-CIO used Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data to define typical worker pay, which was $33,190 for all occupations in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.

That and more data is posted on the website paywatch.org, which is run by the union group. The site will eventually post CEO pay for all 500 companies, as that data is released in proxies submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The AFL-CIO has been operating the website highlighting executive pay since 1997, but it recently posted new data to emphasize the pay disparity between those at the top and the rest of the work force. The union group even has a Facebook application that allows users to plug in their own salary and see how much they make compared to CEOs.

The campaign highlighting pay disparity comes as publicly traded companies will soon have to start disclosing the ratio of CEO pay to the median pay of all company employees as part of the Wall Street reform bill. The SEC has yet to implement the new law that will require this disclosure, but it is inviting public comment on the rule, which is expected to be released later this year.

Last month, New York Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth filed a bill to repeal the disclosure rule calling it "burdensome," for placing an "unnecessary logistical and cost burden on all publicly traded companies," in a statement. She said that repealing the disclosure would allow companies to "direct those resources for investment and job creation."

But Trumka blasted the effort to undo the disclosure law.

"Apparently Wall Street doesn't want people to know that while working Americans paid for the economic crisis with their jobs, their homes and their retirement savings, these Teflon CEOs escaped unscathed," Trumka said.

According to the AFL-CIO, in 1980, CEOs at the largest companies received 42 times the pay of the average worker. In 2000 the gap hit a high, with CEOs making 525 times the average worker.

In 2010, the gap narrowed with CEOs making 343 times the average worker, said Trumka, who himself makes roughly four times the average worker.

"If (CEOs) go down to four-to-one, I'd take it," Trumka said. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 6:55pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

The income of the top 1% jumped significantly in 2012, far outpacing inflation. Not only did this group make a larger share of the country's income, their share of total taxes also jumped from 35% to 38%. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.