AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka recently called CEO pay "shameful" and accused CEOs of "destroy[ing] the livelihoods of the hard-working people who make their companies profitable." Trumka's comments came in response to the release of the AFL-CIO's annual Executive Paywatch report. The report examined CEO pay of S&P 500 companies to come to the conclusion that the "greed of corporate CEOs" has caused a "CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 347 to 1."
However, past reports have been critized for using "questionable methodology," and the Corner at National Review points out data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a very different picture. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers state the average CEO salary in the U.S. in 2016 was $194,350. The Center for Union Facts reports the average salary of labor union presidents was $252,370 in 2016. That is nearly a $60,000 advantage for union presidents over the average salary of business leaders. After benefits, the Union Facts report calculates the average take home compensation for union presidents at $283,678.
Richard Trumka's salary and benefits package tops out at over $300,000 a year, AFSCME President Lee Saunders takes home over $350,000, NEA Secretary Treasurer Princess Moss makes nearly $430,000 a year in total compensation, and AFT President Randi Weingarten nearly $500,000. The one big difference between union presidents' compensation and business CEO's, pointed out by Center for Union Facts spokesman Luka Ladan, is the source. Business officials are compensated out of company earnings while union officials are paid by taking money out of workers' pockets. More data on the salaries of union leaders can be found at unionfacts.com.