Income Inequality

“That is not fair!” How many times have we heard that from our children or perhaps at work? Human beings are hard wired with a sense of fairness-of what is right and what is wrong. Most people believe that they should be fairly compensated for the work that they do. Most workers believe that a Corporate Executive Officer (CEO) of a company should get a little more than the average worker since they run the company. But over the last sixty years, a little more has turned into a whole lot more and we should be very concerned about this.

Since 1950, the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay has increased 1,000 percent according to data from Bloomberg ( Remember the prosperous 1950’s? We manufactured goods right here in America. But then something happened. Corporate America decided to ship our jobs overseas and that CEOs’ were much more important than their workers.

An indicator that corporate America has lost sight of what is truly important is the ratio of CEO pay in relation to its workers. And these numbers will shock you.

The company with the highest ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay is Discovery Communications. CEO David M. Zaslav earned $156 million in 2014 while median worker pay was $80,000-a pay ratio of 1,951 to 1. The second highest is Chipotle, where CEO Steve Ells earned $28.9 million while median worker pay was $19,000-a pay ratio of 1,522 to 1. Rounding out the top five with the highest pay ratios are CVS Health (Larry J. Merlo, pay ratio of 1,192 to 1); Walmart (Douglas McMillon, pay ratio of 1,133 to 1), and Target (Brian C. Cornell, pay ratio of 939 to 1). (Source: Glassdoor Economic Research Blog)

How can anyone in their right mind believe that a CEO is worth nearly 1000-2000 times more than their workers? Workers’ wages have not by any means kept up with the rate of inflation. If they did, the minimum wage would be around $21.00/hour.

Now that you are shocked into consciousness about the inequality between worker pay and CEO pay, it is time to do something about it. Minnesota just recently increased the minimum wage for workers. That is a good start.

Organize and get a Union in your workplace. Unionized workers earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 27 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. Unionized workers are 60 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions. More than 79 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but less than half of nonunion workers do. Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.

While you are at it, why not call your federal and state elected officials. Tell them “That’s not fair” and demand that they do something about it.