CREDO Action

Stand with Sen. Merkley: Pay workers, not CEOs

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Petition to Congress:

"Rein in inflated CEO pay and make sure workers receive their fair share. Pass Sen. Merkley's Fair Share for Workers Act."

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    Stand with Sen. Merkley: Pay workers, not CEOs

    Last year, the average CEO made more than 287 times their median employee – and got a $500,000 pay bump when most Americans got less than $1,000.1

    This is Donald Trump's economy: great if you have a private jet, tough for everyone else. But progressive Sen. Jeff Merkley has a plan to rein in CEO pay by imposing a penalty on companies with the worst pay disparities, and he needs our help to build support.2

    Stand with Sen. Merkley: Pay workers, not CEOs.

    The pay disparity is even more appalling at McDonald's and other companies that force workers to survive on poverty wages. The CEO of McDonald's made 2,124 times his employees' $7,473 median pay. Workers at The Gap only made about $5,800 while the CEO made 3,566 times more. And controversial Tesla CEO Elon Musk made 40,668 times more money than his median employee.3

    CREDO members fought for years to implement a tough Securities and Exchange Commission rule forcing companies to report the ratio of CEO pay to that of their median worker. Now that the rule is in effect, Americans are finding out just how unequal their workplaces are.

    It wasn’t always this way. In 1950, the CEO-to-median worker pay ratio was 20:1. It rose to 42-to-1 by 1980, and 120-to-1 by 2000. It has increased by nearly 1,000% since 1978.4 American workers are more productive than ever but aren't seeing any benefits. We have Ronald Reagan, right-wing economic policies and tax cuts like the Trump Tax Scam to thank for creating a world where the richest 1% hoard all the wealth created by hard labor.

    Stand with Sen. Merkley: Pay workers, not CEOs.

    These numbers explain why strikes are on the rise and unions are more popular than ever. GM workers are currently striking for better treatment and protections for temporary workers, and CREDO members are standing in solidarity. The strike is putting a national spotlight on the company's CEO, who earns $22 million each year. That's nearly $10,600 per hour, or more than 281 times the median GM worker's pay.5

    Sen. Merkley's plan would impose a surtax on all companies with a ratio worse than 30:1, with higher and higher penalties for bigger pay disparities.6 At a time when companies claim they cannot afford to increase wages but are able to hand out giant checks to bigshot executives, Sen. Merkley's proposal would force companies to pay workers their fair share. We need to force every member of Congress to show where they stand on CEO pay by getting behind this bill.

    Stand with Sen. Merkley: Pay workers, not CEOs.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Alexia Fernández Campbell, "CEOs made 287 times more money last year than their workers did," Vox, June 26, 2019.
    2. Sen. Jeff Merkley, "Ahead of Labor Day, Merkley announces legislation so workers gain, not just CEOs," Aug. 29, 2019.
    3. Fernández Campbell, "CEOs made 287 times more money last year than their workers did."
    4. Lawrence Mishel and Julia Wolfe, "CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978," Economic Policy Institute, Aug. 14, 2019.
    5. Ben Klayman, "GM CEO Barra's pay dipped slightly to just under $22 million in 2018," Reuters, April 18, 2019.
    6. Sen. Merkley, "Ahead of Labor Day, Merkley announces legislation so workers gain, not just CEOs."