From: John Crea
Securities and Exchange Commission
Dear Securities and Exchange Commission,
The following is the last paragraph in a canned letter the AFL-CIO is urging members and supporters to write:
"I also urge the SEC to require that companies disclose pay-for-performance data. In order for investors to understand how pay and performance match up, companies need to explain more clearly what level of performance is necessary for a particular level of pay. I urge the SEC to require companies to disclose both the performance criteria and the performance targets they use when setting executive pay."
To be honest, I don't know if I agree with this. This may be giving a corporation's competitors too much of an indication as to the corporation's strategic plans. But this much I do agree with. The full amount of executive's compensation packages should be clearly disclosed, including the potential impact of stock options and retirement packages.
Over the last 40 to 50 years, the trend in American corporations has been to increase executive compensation at a much higher rate than that of the workers toiling away in the trenches, the men and women actually responsible for a company's performance and it's financial health.
I would have thought that as markets rapidly become more open, international, global (a good thing in my book) that this dangerous imbalance between executive and line worker compensation in US corporations would mediate. That doesn't seem to be happening.
The growing compensation gap is an unsustainable situation, and something had better be addressed fairly soon. If US corporations cannot fix the situation themselves, changes should be mandated by the federal government. That's not a situation anyone will be happy with, but the alternative remedy is even uglier.