Today’s News & Commentary — January 6, 2020
The average CEO of an S&P 500 company has already earned more since the start of 2020 than the average worker at that same company will earn all year. In a study analyzing Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the AFL-CIO union considered stock options and employee benefits in its calculations. The average CEO makes $278,846 per week, while the total annual pay for the median worker is $64,513.
As of January 1st, the minimum wage is higher in 13 states, roughly a quarter of the country. Some of these states include California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington. Later this year, four more states will raise their minimum wage. In 17 localities, including those with very high costs of living like New York City and Seattle, the minimum wage will meet or exceed $15 per hour. Since the start of the year, approximately 7 million workers are already benefiting from higher wages.
While Uber filed a petition countering the legal employee definition in California, in France it filed an official complaint with the public prosecutor against workers who led protests. One of those workers was Brahim Ben Ali, who led nationwide protests against the company demanding higher base fares, fewer penalties against drivers who screen rides before accepting them, and stronger union representation. Such protests have shut down various Uber offices throughout France. Uber insists that its decision to fire Ben Ali is unrelated to the right to strike, but rather that it is on account of his actions “insulting” the company, “intimidating” staff and drivers, and “degrading” the offices.
The U.S. Department of Labor ruled that the Tennessee Valley Authority illegally fired a whistleblower. As part of the damages, TVA must restore Beth Wetzel’s job and pay her over $200,000. The federally owned utility company claims it fired Beth Wetzel for speaking negatively about her supervisor. The Labor Department found that Wetzel properly raised safety concerns, including nuclear safety complaints, and that these complaints were the basis for her wrongful termination.