Leave it to the right-wing neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to defend the indefensible: runaway CEO pay levels. Last week, the AFL-CIO’s Executive Paywatch website announced that S&P 500 company CEOs made on average $13.5 million in total compensation in 2014, an amount equal to 373 times the average production and nonsupervisory worker’s pay.
New revelations about the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) illustrate the need for greater transparency by corporations for their political and lobbying spending. The internal documents released by The Guardian show that ALEC has targeted dozens of large corporations for fundraising in 2013, including what ALEC calls “prodigal son” corporations that had previously dropped their membership because of the organization’s controversial positions.
The Tribune Company has announced it will split in two, separating its newspaper business from its broadcasting unit, as it focuses more on its television operations in an attempt to become more profitable. The announced spin-off is at least a temporary setback to Charles and David Koch, the conservative billionaire brothers who had expressed interest in acquiring the newspapers.
At today’s Mondelēz International's shareholder meeting, the IUF, the international union body representing food workers worldwide, and unions representing the company’s North American employees raised concerns about human rights abuses in the company’s overseas operations. Many Mondelēz-branded cookies and crackers are produced by union members, including Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Ritz and Triscuit.
This week, the HR Policy Association’s so-called “Center on Executive Compensation” criticized a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for suggesting companies should consider voluntarily disclosing CEO-to-worker pay ratios. The HR Policy Association represents human resource executives of more than 325 of the largest U.S. corporations, and would prefer to keep secret the pay disparity between their bosses—the CEOs—and their employees.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will consider a rule to require disclosure of political spending by publicly traded corporations in April. By putting this rule making on its agenda, the SEC is responding to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, which ended restrictions on independent corporate spending for public communications that influence elections.
The AFL-CIO recently joined with other investors to ask corporations to nominate more women as directors. The AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler co-signed a letter with state officials from California, New York, Washington, Massachusetts and other states, as well as executives from the nation’s largest state pension funds, mutual fund companies, and women’s organizations.
Investors sent the letter to the nominating committees of S&P 500 companies that do not have any women on their boards.