The best stat that tracks the vast — and still growing — economic divide in the United States? That may well be the CEO-worker pay ratio, the number you get when you take how much corporate CEOs take home and compare that to the wages of their typical employees. Now we can finally make that comparison firm by firm. This year, for the first time ever, publicly traded companies have to release their CEO-worker pay ratios.

The first major corporate disclosure has just come from Honeywell, where the median worker made $50,296 last year. And Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk? He took home $16.5 million in 2017.

Activists have been demanding for years that corporations start disclosing their CEO-worker pay ratios. We won that struggle, over fierce corporate opposition. Our next challenge: seeing to it that firms with wide ratios face real consequences for their corporate greed.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Building a Labor Movement for the 21st Century
Workers and activists around the United States gathered this past Saturday, just days before the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a landmark labor case, to demand an end to the rigged economy that allows the wealthy and corporations to have an outsized impact on policies that affect working people. The best recent example of that impact: the Janus v. AFSCME case now before the High Court. A handful of billionaire-backed organizations have shoved through the legal system this attack on workers’ ability to collectively organize. If these groups prevail, working people will face an even more precarious future. What can we do now in response? Erica Smiley, the organizing director for Jobs with Justice, has some answers. co-editor Negin Owliaei has the details in a dispatch on Saturday’s event in Washington, D.C.
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What Money Can’t Buy, at Least in California
Eight years ago, Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla spent $32.5 million on an 89-acre property with prime beachfront in San Mateo County. Khosla then proceeded to padlock the gate that leads to the beach. His goal: to keep the public off his sand. The only problem: California law guarantees public access to California beachfront. Khosla’s padlocking went to court. In 2014, a county judge ruled against him. Then a state appeals court ruled against him. This past October, the California Supreme Court declined to hear Khosla’s appeal to that ruling. Last week, the Sun Microsystems billionaire asked the U.S. Supreme Court — in a 151-page petition — to bless his padlock. Khosla will clearly “do anything,” says California state senator Jerry Hill, to “deny other people their right to enjoy the coast in California.”
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A New Global Look at the Rich and the Vulnerable
Societies where large numbers of people live in constant danger of falling into poverty, new OECD stats suggest, tend to have more wealth concentrating at their economic summits. The key study takeaway: If we want to minimize economic vulnerability at the bottom of our economic orders, we need to pay careful attention to what’s happening at the top. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on 

Sarah Anderson, A New Landmark in CEO-Worker Pay Ratio Disclosure. Honeywell has just revealed a 333:1 gap between the compensation of the 143,000-employee firm’s top executive and most typical workers.

Juliette Legendre, Emmanuel Macron Was Supposed to Be the Anti-Trump. He’s Not. The French darling of American liberals is slashing taxes for the rich while cracking down on immigrants.

Jessicah Pierre, Racism is Literally Killing African-American Mothers. The chronic stress of racism endangers black moms of all kinds — from Serena Williams to Erica Garner.

Elsewhere on the web 

Livia Gershon, Why Equality Matters More Than IncomeJSTOR Daily. Levels of child well-being sink as levels of inequality rise.

Alex Pareene, Billionaires gone wildColumbia Journalism Review. The whims of the ultra rich are reshaping the American media landscape.

Matthew Shaer, The Archaeology of Wealth InequalitySmithsonian Magazine. Researchers are tracing our economic divides back more than 11,000 years.

Celine McNicholas, Zane Mokhiber, and Marni von Wilpert, Janus and fair share feesEconomic Policy Institute. Mega millionaires are bankrolling the litigation attack on public employee union capacity to function effectively.        

Penelope Green, Clouds in My Coffee! A Supertall Skyscraper SleepoverThe New York Times. The ability of the super rich to dominate the skyline offers an apt metaphor for our times.
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