AFL-CIO: Executive Paywatch report reveals average Wisconsin CEO-to-worker pay ratio in 2020

MILWAUKEE, WI —According to the 2021 edition of the Executive Paywatch report released by the AFL-CIO, the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio at S&P 500 companies in Wisconsin was 188-to-1 in 2020.

On average, Wisconsin CEOs made $10,113,252 in total compensation in 2020, down slightly from $10,958,584 in 2019. Results once again show massive CEO-to-worker pay disparity and inequality among S&P 500 companies. 

Wisconsin’s significant levels of pay 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 “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. Wisconsin has been a right to work state since 2015.

“This report is proof there’s a lot of greed at the top of the pay scale for CEOs,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “Throughout the pandemic, 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 pulling in big-time paychecks rarely had to make those same decisions. While essential workers stood up our front lines, hundreds of thousands of workers were laid off or furloughed, and many working families had to juggle new childcare and education responsibilities. It’s time to raise wages for all working people and pass the PRO Act for a more equal economy.” 

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.