As millions of workers across the USA unionise and strike against low wages, a new analysis finds that average pay for top chief executives jumped to $14.7 million in 2021.
Total pay rose by at least 12 per cent for most of the CEOs as the largest US companies recorded shareholder returns of nearly 30 per cent, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data for more than 400 companies.
Nine chief executives at the largest American companies received $50 million or more in 2021, up from one in 2016 and seven in 2020.
‘Much of the pay consisted of equity awards that could ultimately prove to be worth more or less than initially reported,’ the Journal reported. ‘In 2020, the median pay package was $13.4 million for the same companies, with median cash compensation of $3.1 million.’
The rising CEO remunerations stand in stark contrast to the economic hardships that ordinary workers are experiencing nationwide as inflation chips away at the modest wage increases at the time when the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged many sectors of the economy.
‘While most of America struggles to put gas in the tank and pay the grocery bills, price-gouging, excessive-profit-taking CEOs used their captive boards to award themselves record pay,’ Jennifer Taub, a professor at Western New England University School of Law and an expert on corporate governance, said.
Workers at several large companies, whose CEOs receive multi-million-dollar pay packages – including Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple – are trying to unionise in the face of stern opposition from management.
Additionally, workers in fast-food and retail sectors are continuing a trend of strikes and protests over low wages and poor working conditions.
Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO, took home $16.45 million in total last year.
Meanwhile, the No Tax Breaks for Union Busting Act, which would end the practice of allowing corporations to claim tax deductions for funds they spend on union busting, was introduced in the Senate last week.
John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union, said: ‘Every working person in America today deserves the chance to freely and fairly form or join a union and have a voice in the workplace without fear of retaliation.
‘Yet, even as workers raise their voices and join together, our laws remain stacked against American families and in favour of corporate greed.
‘It is outrageous that corporations are currently given tax breaks for union busting.
‘The No Tax Breaks for Union Busting Act would end this abhorrent practice, and help restore balance to our economy so working families have a fair shake.
‘Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidise the efforts of employers to silence workers, and the federal government should not be incentivising anti-union behaviour.
‘The TWU stands with working people across the United States in calling on Congress to pass this legislation and for the President to sign it into law as quickly as possible.’
- Amid the outpouring of grief and shock over Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, Black residents have expressed anguish about the racism and white supremacy that fuelled this deadliest massacre in recent American history.
Protesters rallied at a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Sunday in Buffalo, the day after the alleged white supremacist sympathiser shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket that largely served African Americans.
The white gunman shot 10 people to death and injured three others at the Buffalo grocery store, in an act of ‘racially motivated violent extremism’.
AFL-CIO trade unions federation President Liz Shuler and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer/Executive Vice President Fred Redmond issued the following statement:
‘The entire labour movement is appalled by the killing of 10 people and wounding of three by a man with racist beliefs who targeted Black people.
‘While there’s no way to make sense of yet another racially motivated, hate-inspired attack on innocent people because of the colour of their skin, it’s clear these types of mass shootings are perpetrated by those radicalised online, and we must take action.
‘Our deepest condolences are with the family, friends, UFCW members and an entire community who are once again dealing with unfathomable pain due to one person’s racist beliefs.’
- Hundreds rallied in New York to mark the anniversary of the initiation in 1948 of the Israeli regime’s occupation of and aggression against Palestine, and also to condemn the recent murder of renowned Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
The participants shouted ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Israel you can’t hide … you’re committing genocide,’ as they marked Nakba (Catastrophe) Day.
Back in 1948, the Israeli regime claimed existence following a heavily-Western-backed war against regional territories.
The protesters also chanted: ‘Justice for Shireen,’ remembering Abu Akleh who was brutally murdered while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
The long-time Al Jazeera journalist, who rose to fame while covering the second Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) between 2000 and 2005, was accompanying a group of local journalists when she was targeted.
Several independent groups have launched their own probes into the atrocity, with one open-source research team saying its initial findings have lent support to accounts provided by Palestinian witnesses, who said Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire.
Bellingcat, a Dutch-based international consortium of researchers, published an analysis of video and audio evidence gathered on social media.
The material came from both Palestinian and Israeli military sources, and the analysis looked at such factors as time stamps, the locations of the videos, shadows, and a forensic audio analysis of gunshots.
The group found that the evidence supported witness accounts that Israeli fire killed Abu Akleh.
‘Based on what we were able to review,’ the Israeli troops ‘were in the closest position and had the clearest line of sight to Abu Akleh,’ said Giancarlo Fiorella, the lead researcher of the analysis.
Commenting on Shireen’s murder, one male protester, who was taking part in the New York rally, said: ‘To kill a Palestinian for them is like shooting a bird.
‘It’s a shame, and this country (the US) does nothing,’ he added, referring to Washington’s unfaltering support for Tel Aviv, and its constant protection of the occupying regime against international backlash.
‘I, myself, am Jewish and I feel like it is a very strong and deep duty to criticise the Israeli government, and stand up for the oppressed Palestinians.’
A female demonstrator said: ‘Shireen was murdered in cold blood by a sniper’s shot to her head, right below the helmet that she was wearing, while she was wearing a “press vest” because she has always covered the truth about what’s happening in Palestine, and Israel wanted to silence her.
‘Freedom of speech is killed. Shireen Abu Akleh … we knew her for tens of years. She was a very good reporter. And she was not biased. She was just reflecting what’s happening in the occupied land.
‘And she was mercilessly murdered.’