May 14, 2015

CEO Pay Continues to Rise; Walmart Workers Prepare to Call for Change at Shareholders Meeting

CEOs paid 373 times average worker pay, according to 2015 Executive PayWatch

ceopayWASHINGTON, DC—As Americans rally behind initiatives to raise pay for working families, CEO pay for major U.S. companies has skyrocketed. According to new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch data, CEO pay increased nearly 16 percent in 2014, while Walmart and the Walton family continue to drive inequality nationwide.

The Executive PayWatch website, the most comprehensive searchable online database that tracks CEO pay, showed that in 2014, the average production and nonsupervisory worker made approximately $36,000 per year, while S&P 500 company CEO pay averaged $13.5 million per year – a ratio which has grown to 373-to-1. Meanwhile, a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage is paid just $15,080 a year, well below the poverty level for a family.

 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 is paid $9,323 an hour. A new Walmart employee making $9 an hour would have to work 1036 hours to earn what McMillon makes just 60 minutes. PayWatch also notes that six Walton family members have more wealth than 43 percent of America’s families combined.

“I made about $13,000 last year, working as many hours as the company would let me,” said Shannon Henderson, a Walmart employee and mother of two in Sacramento, California. “I work for the richest company in the world, and I can’t support my family without public assistance. That’s not right, and that’s why I’m not going to stop fighting for $15 and full time.”

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to worker pressure and announced it would raise wages for 500,000 U.S. associates. But despite the modest increase—and without any guarantee of adequate hours —many workers are still forced to rely on government assistance programs like food stamps to get by. Meanwhile, the company escalated its retaliatory actions against associates to a new level last month, when it abruptly closed five stores and laid off more than 2,000 workers, citing “plumbing issues.” Among the stores Walmart closed is the Pico Rivera, California Supercenter, the first store to go on strike in 2012, as well as the site of the first sit-down strike prior to last Black Friday. Walmart has failed to offer any evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores.

In light of the data released by Executive PayWatch, Walmart workers are prepared to demand change and accountability from the world’s largest retailer. As Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting approaches, workers have announced their intention to propose a shareholder resolution that would rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for workers.


LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.