According to the 2021 edition of the Executive Paywatch report released today by the AFL-CIO, the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio at S&P 500 companies in Minnesota was 226 to 1 in 2020, down slightly from 271 to 1 in 2019.
On average, Minnesota CEOs made $14.6 million in total compensation in 2020, up from $14.4 million in 2019. Results once again show that despite some modest worker wage gains, there remains massive CEO-to-worker pay disparity and inequality among S&P 500 companies.
Minnesota’s significant levels of inequality showcase the importance of passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a monumental labor law reform bill currently in the hands of the U.S. Senate. The PRO Act will remove barriers to organizing and transform our economic system into one that works for all workers, not just corporate interests and billionaires.
The Executive Paywatch report also found that workers at Russell 3000 Index companies headquartered in so called “right to work” states were more likely to have lower median employee pay and higher CEO-to-worker pay ratios than companies headquartered in free bargaining states. Right to work is the name for a policy designed to make it harder for working people to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Minnesota is thankfully not a “right to work” state, and this report is proof that workers are better off because of it.
“Throughout the pandemic, our workers made decisions no one should ever face: go to work and possibly contract COVID-19, or stay home and risk losing a paycheck. CEOs and business owners labeled them as ‘heroes’ and many stood behind temporary base salary reductions,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy. “Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans were laid off or furloughed, and increased equity compensation made up for anything they may have lost.”
The AFL-CIO’s annual Executive Paywatch is the most comprehensive, searchable online database that has tracked CEO pay for more than two decades. Over the years, the data from Paywatch has consistently been the leading source for exposing stagnant wages and the negative effects of inequality on America’s workers.