Washington D.C. – Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new analysis spotlighting 15 major corporations that have blamed labor costs for price increases in 2021 yet still managed to pad their executives’ compensation by substantial margins. To make matters even worse, some of these companies, including McDonald’s, even cut their median worker pay. For months, Accountable.US has been documenting how major companies have used the pandemic as an excuse to increase their wealth and line their own pockets at the expense of their customers.
Considering corporate profits are at their highest levels in over 50 years, it’s safe to say executives have breathing room in their business decisions. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a trend of highly profitable companies choosing to enrich a small group of investors and their executives at the expense of their customers and workers. Can a company that posted huge new profits over the last year while rewarding shareholders and executives by millions honestly say they needed to raise prices so high, or pay their workers so little? Reining in runaway corporate greed is key to bringing down costs for everyday families.”
Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US
The new report follows Accountable.US’ analysis last week — which garnered nationwide notice — of earnings data of the ten largest U.S. retailers by market capitalization, finding that they all raised consumer prices while collectively reporting $24.6 billion in increased profits during their most recent fiscal years. These same companies also ramped up spending on shareholder handouts by nearly $45 billion year-over-year for a total of $79.1 billion.
Amazon complained that its costs grew due to “wage increases” while it announced price hikes. Meanwhile, its CEO pay gap grew by over 11,000% to 6,474-to-1, its new CEO Andy Jassy saw his pay increase “sixfold” to over $212 million, and its Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos saw his net worth jump by over 77% to $201 billion from 2020 to 2021.
McDonald’s blamed “labor inflation” for its price hikes while its CEO pay gap expanded by 89% to 2,251-to-1, its median employee pay fell, and its CEO’s compensation rose to over $20 million.
Under Armour—which has complained about “rising wages” and called the supply chain crisis an “‘opportunity for us to raise prices‘”—expanded its CEO pay gap by 34% to 1,485-to-1, while its CEO’s total compensation rose by nearly 111% to over $15.5 million.
HanesBrands complained about “wage pressure” as it discussed price hikes—meanwhile, its CEO pay gap rose by 48% to 1,564-to-1, its CEO pay grew by 50% to over $11 million, and its median worker earned just over $6,000.