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Your Retirement Security Is at Risk. Not so for These CEOs

Posted in the database on Saturday, April 08th, 2006 @ 17:26:49 MST (3585 views)
from AFL-CIO  

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The average CEO of a Standard & Poor's 500 company made $11.75 million in total compensation in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by The Corporate Library. And that's just their annual take. At a time when most working families are looking at shrinking retirement nest eggs, many CEOs also have negotiated golden retirements for themselves. Here are the biggest CEO pensions:

Your Retirement Security Is at Risk. Not so for These CEOs.

Top 25 Largest CEO Pensions

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing a new rule to require companies to disclose a dollar estimate of their CEOs retirement benefits. While this rule will not go into effect until 2007, here is a sneak peek of what shareholders should expect.

CEO Golden Years: The Top 25 Largest CEO Pensions

. Company Name CEO Full Name Annual Pension
Pfizer Inc Henry A. McKinnell $6,518,459
Exxon Mobil Corp. Lee R. Raymond $6,500,000
AT&T Inc. Edward E. Whitacre $5,494,107
UnitedHealth Group Inc. William W. McGuire $5,092,000
IBM Corp. Samuel J. Palmisano $4,000,000
Home Depot Inc. Robert L. Nardelli $3,875,000
Colgate-Palmolive Co. Reuben Mark $3,700,000
Comcast Corp Brian L. Roberts $3,600,000
Bank of America Corp. Kenneth D. Lewis $3,486,425
Union Pacific Corp. Richard K. Davidson $2,700,000
Exelon Corp. John W. Rowe $2,600,000
ConocoPhilips James J. Mulva $2,600,000
Lockheed Martin Corp. Vance D. Coffman $2,591,856
Robert Half International Inc. Harold M. Messmer $2,555,000
BellSouth Corp F. Duane Ackerman $2,512,300
Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. Patrick T. Stokes $2,500,000
Mattel Inc. Robert A. Eckert $2,500,000
Coca-Cola Co. E. Neville Isdell $2,500,000
Prudential Financial Inc. Arthur F. Ryan $2,456,000
FPL Group Inc. Lewis Hay $2,430,134
Eli Lilly and Co. Sidney Taurel $2,300,000
General Electric Co. Jeffrey R. Immelt $2,300,000
Valero Energy Corp. William E. Greehey $2,236,000
Countrywide Financial Corp. Angelo R. Mozilo $2,171,358
PepsiCo, Inc. Steven S. Reinemund $2,170,870

The 6 Most Highly Paid Ceos on Executive PayWatch

Pfizer, Inc.

Exxon Mobil Corp.

A T & T

United Health Group Inc.


The Home Depot Inc.


$13,700 an Hour

Katrina vanden Heuvel
The Nation

Last Sunday, the New York Times reported that--for the first time--a full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in America at market rates. That means more and more people like Michelle Kennedy--a former Senate page and author of Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America--are finding themselves homeless and living out of their cars.

At a town hall meeting in Ohio last Saturday, Representative Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a staunch advocate for social and economic rights--he and Bernie Sanders are the two best candidates running for Senate in 2006--railed against stagnant wages' contribution to economic hardship. "It is unacceptable that someone can work full-time--and work hard--and not be able to lift their family out of poverty." He blasted a system where a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $10,500 annually, while "last year the CEO of Wal-Mart earned $3,500 an hour. The CEO of Halliburton earned about $8,300 an hour. And the CEO of ExxonMobil earned about $13,700 an hour."

This past weekend Robert Kuttner argued in the Boston Globe that while people are blaming undocumented workers for driving down wages, the real villains are "the people running the government, who have made sure that the lions' share of the productivity gains go to the richest 1 percent of Americans. With different tax, labor, health, and housing policies, native-born workers and immigrants alike could get a fairer share of our productive economy."

Kuttner points to Census data showing that "median household income fell 3.8 percent, or $1,700, from 1999 to 2004...during a period when average productivity rose 3 percent per year." And while income is falling, working people are increasingly squeezed. Costs for housing, healthcare, education and childcare rose 46 percent between 1991 and 2002, according to economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute.

And the situation is getting worse. Look at the Delphi Corporation's moves as reported in the Washington Post on Saturday. The company asked a bankruptcy judge to void its union contracts so it could lower worker wages and benefits. CEO Steve Miller played the ever-reliable global competition card saying, "At the end of the day, Delphi must be competitive in the global marketplace."

But as Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University, makes clear, this new tactic will further erode labor's power in the workplace. "What in our laws and in our democracy gives a bankruptcy judge the right to take away freedom of association and collective bargaining?" Bronfenbrenner asked. "Bankruptcy judges should not have that power. Now they do."

In the current climate--with tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; a minimum wage frozen for eight years and a GOP-dominated Congress; deterioration of labor's power in the workplace; and corporate-authored free-trade agreements that exacerbate these trends--it is heartening to hear Sherrod Brown make the case that "a hard day's work should mean a fair day's pay." But where are the other Democratic leaders who should be standing by his side?

The Democratic Party needs to regain its moral compass, its heart and soul. Sounding an alarm on this economic catastrophe befalling so many Americans is what heart and soul is all about.

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