CEO Pay vs. Union Pay

Posted by Olivia Grady on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 at 5:12 pm - Permalink

By Olivia Grady

On May 26, 2017, Luka Ladan’s article, “No, CEOs don’t make 347 times more than American Workers,” was published in the Washington Examiner.

Ladan explains that the AFL-CIO just published a new Executive Paywatch report on May 9th claiming that CEOs make 347 times more money than American workers. The report was to expose how greedy CEOs are and how they take advantage of their workers.

However, the report is flawed in several respects.

The report claims that the average S&P 500 CEO earned $13.1 million in 2016, and that the worker made only $37,632 on average. Ladan points out that the report should have used the Department of Labor’s average salary for chief executive to more accurately reflect the business world, which includes small businesses. That average salary is $194, 350.

Experts at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker have explained that the AFL-CIO’s numbers don’t accurately reflect the salaries of both CEOs and workers as well.

After debunking the report, Ladan next points out that union leaders actually make the large salaries. He reports, using the Center for Union Facts analysis, that at least 192 union presidents earned more than the average CEO pay in 2016.  At least 22 presidents made over $400,000 while about 50 made over $300,000 in total compensation.

For example, the president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Timothy Canoll, made more than $775,000 in 2016. Newton Jones, the president of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, made $756,973, and Laborer’s International Union President Terrence O’Sullivan earned almost $718,000. 

In addition to high salaries, union leaders also receive other perks, such as stays in nice hotels, sports tickets, and others. The American Federation of Teachers, for example, spent almost $100,000 on limousine services in 2016.

Given the unnecessary expenses of union leaders that workers pay for and the lack of approval for their leaders, Ladan ends the article by advocating for the Employee Rights Act, a federal law that would make it easier for members to leave the union.