This week, AFL-CIO launched the 2014 Executive PayWatch, an online tool showing the 2013 CEO-to-worker pay ratio. The tool features America’s top paid CEOs- including Reynold’s American Inc’s Daniel M. Delen- as well as the workers in their supply chain, like Fernando (pictured below). In 2013, Delen’s total compensation was $10,452,206, while the average farmworker made just $7.25 an hour, around $11,000 for an entire season of work.
“I came to the United States from Mexico in 2006, driven by a dream we all share: a better life for my family. What I found, however, is suffering. My job is dangerous. I am exposed to the chemicals farmers use on their fields, and so I get sick a lot. When I don’t feel well enough to work, I still have to go in or I face retaliation. I cough up blood, get nose bleeds, vomit and have frequent bouts of diarrhea. My eyes are constantly red. The vapors from the boxes of tobacco exacerbate my chronic cough. This lasts the whole season. I make $7.25 an hour.”-Fernando, NC tobacco farmworker
Shocked? Outraged? So are we! Especially because Reynolds has told FLOC time and time again that the company has taken the necessary steps to erradicate these abuses in their supply chain!
We agree with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who says of the featured executives “America’s “CEOs- as exemplified by the individuals of these companies- are cannibalizing their own consumer base. It’s wrong.”
Luckily, the once-a-year opportunity to confront Delen at Reynolds’ headquarters is around the corner. Join FLOC at the Reynolds American 2014 Annual Shareholders Meeting on May 8th in Winston Salem. We’ll stand up for farmworkers like Fernando and all Americans who are fed up with the low-wage economy. To volunteer for the event, sign up here.