Business

U.S. CEOs made 16% more last year, while workers got 2.3% pay hike

CEOs in the U.S. were paid 373 times more than the average worker in 2014, according to data gathered by the AFL-CIO.

Labour organization focuses on Walmart CEO's pay: $9,323 an hour compared to $9 for workers

A rally for a $15 an hour wage on April 15 drew workers from Walmart and fast food outlets. CEOs made 373 times the income of the average U.S. worker. (Mike Groll/Associated Press)

CEOs in the U.S. were paid 373 times the income of the average worker in 2014, a national trade union federation says.

Data gathered by the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) revealed the  average production worker saw only only a minimal wage increase of 2.3 per cent, while CEO pay for major U.S. companies rose by about 16 per cent in 2014.

Average pay for the CEO of an S&P 500 company was $13.5 million US last year,  compared to $36,134 for the average worker.

The AFL-CIO annually publishes a searchable online database that tracks CEO pay.

"America faces an income inequality crisis because corporate CEOs have taken the raising wages agenda and applied it only to themselves," AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in a news release.

"Big corporations spend freely on executive perks and powerful lobbyists to strip rights from workers, but when it comes to lifting up the wages of workers that make their companies run, they're nowhere to be found."

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule that would force companies to divulge the ratio between CEO pay and employee pay in public documents.

The labour organization is urging its followers to support enactment of this rule.

Walmart CEO made $19M

In its examination of CEO compensation, the AFL-CIO is focusing on the track record of Walmart, where CEO Douglas McMillon received $19.4 million in pay last year, about 537 times the average worker's wage.

His compensation looks even more generous compared to the average Walmart worker's pay — McMillon makes $9,323 an hour compared to $9 for a beginning employee.

Walmart workers have been among the protesters demanding a higher minimum wage across the U.S., with many saying they rely on public assistance to support themselves, even when they work full time.

Walmart is among the companies that have moved this year to raise wages for 40 per cent of its employees who make minimum wage, but their pay will only rise to about $9 an hour.

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