CEO Pay Is How Much?!

Wow. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more absurd, an average American worker now must work 257 years to make what a typical S&P 500 CEO makes in a single year.

The AP reports:

The median pay package for a CEO rose above eight figures for the first time last year. The head of a typical large public company earned a record $10.5 million, an increase of 8.8 percent from $9.6 million in 2012, according to an Associated Press/Equilar pay study...Last year was the fourth straight that CEO compensation rose following a decline during the Great Recession. The median CEO pay package climbed more than 50 percent over that stretch.

Meanwhile, CEOs now make 354 times as much as the average employee and the gap between workers' pay and productivity continues to widen. From 1973 to 2011, worker productivity grew 80.4 percent, while the inflation-adjusted median hourly compensation for those workers grew just one-eighth of that amount, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Now imagine if wages actually kept up with the hard work that we do every day. Bargaining rights are the way that happens. When workers have bargaining rights, income inequality goes down. Unfortunately in the U.S., where just 7 percent of private sector workers have union representation, the 1 percent gets more and more of the economic pie.

We know that, alone, we can't achieve our goals of bargaining rights, good wages and secure jobs, and health care and retirement security. But we also know that when we work with our partners and allies – greens, good government groups, civil rights and students' organizations, and many more – we can make things happen. That's how we're building a movement of 50 million activists for real change.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is working on a rule, part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms, that will require public companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to median employee pay.

Meanwhile, corporations are fighting hard to keep their executives' pay a secret. It's not hard to see why.