A thriving community depends on the work of everyone, from the retail clerk who greets customers to the janitor who cleans the countertop. But for decades, corporate executives held down pay for the typical Ohio worker, while they lavished enormous pay growth on themselves. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the disparity is as glaring as ever: While Ohioans on the frontlines continue to do vital work months after hazard pay ended — if they ever got it — CEOs in 2020 took home windfall gains from stock price growth. CEOs’ pay reflects their privileged status to set their own pay, and it further separates the fortunes of the wealthiest from the rest of us.
Among 54 of Ohio’s 100 largest employers that reported to the Securities & Exchange Commission, the median chief executive officer was paid 322 times the rate of the median worker at the same company last year. More than two-thirds of the reporting corporations paid their CEO more than 200 times what they paid typical employees. One-third paid their CEO more than 500 times as much, and seven companies paid their CEO more than 1,000 times more than their median employee.
In this pivotal moment, DC policymakers must spend federal rescue funds in a timely way, with a laser focus on addressing the racial inequities that have excluded Black and brown communities from economic gains and left them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, federal policymakers excluded certain residents—including immigrants who are undocumented and workers in the informal cash economy—from federal relief that provides vital cash assistance to those who have lost income. Intentional investment is needed from DC policymakers to right this unfair exclusion and pursue an equitable and inclusive future for these workers.
Connecticut Voices for Children released their annual State of Working Connecticut report entitled, “Advancing Economic Justice in the Labor Market.” This year’s report examines the economic standing of Connecticut’s workers and calls for a sweeping, antiracist program to advance economic justice; additionally, it offers six recommendations to combat rising wage inequality and to address the substantial racial wage gaps in the U.S. and Connecticut.