WASHINGTON — CEOs at 299 U.S. companies earned a staggering $3.4 billion combined in executive compensation in 2010, a new study by the nation’s largest labor union found.
Nearly 190 of those chief executives got a pay raise compared to their 2009 levels, the AFL-CIO noted in a report presented to reporters on Tuesday. The total amount of compensation represented a 23 percent increase from the prior year. In all, the sum of the salaries earned by those 299 CEOs equalled the combined average earnings of more than 100,000 workers in their respective companies.
The figures, which are part of the union federation’s annual Executive PayWatch — a searchable database examining publicly available payment information from S&P 500 Companies — reflect what AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka called a culture of “runaway CEO pay.” The numbers were presented as part of a larger pitch for Congress and the President to clamp down on executive compensation and protect the gains made on this front in the financial regulatory reform bill passed last year.