AFL-CIO PayWatch Website and New E-Campaign Turns Fed-Up Shareholders Into Cyber Activists on Out-of-Control CEO Pay

Investors Double-Click for Justice at Bank of America, Sprint and Conseco

www.paywatch.org



Apr 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from AFL-CIO

    WASHINGTON, April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The AFL-CIO will launch a new
 e-campaign today, on its updated Executive PayWatch website
 (http://www.paywatch.org ), which gives fed-up shareholders nearly 50 e-tools
 for reining in exorbitant CEO pay.
     For example, investors can find out if their mutual fund invests in three
 companies which are among the worst CEO pay offenders and ask their investment
 managers to join shareholders who are challenging runaway CEO pay.  They can
 also email individual company board members and demand CEO pay reform, use the
 web to chastise executives with ill-gotten stock options, or e-mail "dead beat
 directors" who got subsidized loans.
     "People are sickened by watching this bear market eat up their life
 savings while CEOs still make out with the big bucks," said AFL-CIO Secretary-
 Treasurer Richard Trumka.  "That's why we're giving working people the e-tools
 they need to take action and organize against outrageous CEO pay packages
 which lower the value of everyone's stock."
     PayWatch points out that while stock prices are falling, the average CEO
 made a record-breaking $20 million in 2000 -- that's nearly 50 percent more in
 stock options and 22 percent more in salary and bonus than last year.  The
 typical hourly worker received a three percent raise last year.  In 1999, CEOs
 made 476 times what the average blue-collar American worker made.  That's up
 from 42 times more in 1980, and 85 times more than in 1990.
     PayWatch visitors can also play GREED!: The Executive PayWatch Board Game,
 where they can win by grabbing a golden parachute, stacking the Board of
 Directors, cutting deals for extravagant perks and covering up poor
 performance.  Players lose points when shareholders revolt and file
 resolutions or lawsuits.
     Although PayWatch gives investors the tools they need to start a campaign
 at any company -- including information on how to call on the regulators, the
 IRS, and Congress -- the e-campaign features three corporate giants that  are
 dramatic case studies in overpay for no performance and where shareholders
 have submitted proposals on CEO pay in 2001: Sprint, Bank of America, and
 Conseco.
     According to PayWatch, a telephone line repair person would have to work
 1891 years to equal Sprint (NYSE:   FON) Chairman and CEO William Esrey's 2000
 compensation  -- and would have to repair 6.9 million working phones.  Esrey
 took home $69.3 million in total compensation and stock options in 2000, and
 $64.1 million in stock option exercises from prior grants.  The real windfall
 for Sprint executives came when Sprint's board changed the rules mid-game
 before the merger with MCI-WorldCom failed.  Executives got their golden
 parachutes early -- from early vesting of $1.1 billion in Sprint stock
 options, including $600 million for Sprint's top five executives -- then got
 to keep both the parachutes and their jobs. Cyber activists can use PayWatch
 to call on Esrey to give back undeserved options and to send an e-complaint to
 Sprint.  "Please keep a close eye on this director," reads the e-mail which
 visitors can send to the directors' other boards.  Visitors can support
 shareholder proposals at Sprint to prohibit repricing of outstanding executive
 stock without shareholder approval.
     Bank of America's (NYSE:   BAC) Hugh McColl reaped a total of $95.6 million
 in cumulative pay over the last five years.  In that same five year period,
 Bank of America's stock return underperformed the S&P Index by -34 percent. In
 addition to exposing cronyism on the compensation committee, PayWatch lets
 cyber activists e-mail their support to former director Shirley Young.
 According to Business Week, Hugh McColl may have forced out Young because she
 was too critical of the company's governance and McColl's pay.  Investors can
 find out how to support shareholder proposals at Bank of America to use
 "performance-based" stock options and to put future CEO severance packages to
 a shareholder vote.
     Conseco (NYSE:   CNC) is one of the largest sources of insurance, financial
 services and loans for consumers. When Conseco's new CEO, Gary Wendt, became
 CEO in June of last year, Conseco gave him a golden handshake that includes a
 signing bonus of $45 million, stock options worth almost $59 million and
 restricted shares worth $18.8 million.  Conseco recently took a $78 million
 charge against its earnings for over $600 million in loans given to executives
 and directors to buy Conseco stock.  Two directors were forced out and three
 others resigned because they owed millions of dollars after the company's
 share price collapsed. PayWatch lets visitors use the web to demand that the
 company collect on these bad debts -- they can e-mail the "dead beat"
 directors and send cyber letters to the companies that Conseco's directors sit
 on to let them know they have a CEO over-payer in their midst.
     In addition to the new PayWatch cyber campaign, PayWatch lets visitors
 compare their pay to their own CEO's pay.  People can find out how many years
 it would take them to earn what their CEO earns. The site also provides
 investors, workers and the public easy-to-understand summaries of CEO pay at
 1500 of America's largest corporations.
     According to 2001 opinion research by Peter Hart Research Associates, 78
 percent of the public says that it's important that everyone, not just the
 CEOs, gets their fair share in a growing economy. Survey respondents ranked
 this as one of the top three economy-related goals that are important for the
 future.
     Since its launch in 1997, PayWatch has remained among the Internet's most
 popular sites, with over 11 million hits last year and more than 30 million
 hits since its inception.
     The AFL-CIO is the umbrella organization for America's unions,
 representing more than 13 million working men and women around the nation.
 
 

SOURCE AFL-CIO
    WASHINGTON, April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The AFL-CIO will launch a new
 e-campaign today, on its updated Executive PayWatch website
 (http://www.paywatch.org ), which gives fed-up shareholders nearly 50 e-tools
 for reining in exorbitant CEO pay.
     For example, investors can find out if their mutual fund invests in three
 companies which are among the worst CEO pay offenders and ask their investment
 managers to join shareholders who are challenging runaway CEO pay.  They can
 also email individual company board members and demand CEO pay reform, use the
 web to chastise executives with ill-gotten stock options, or e-mail "dead beat
 directors" who got subsidized loans.
     "People are sickened by watching this bear market eat up their life
 savings while CEOs still make out with the big bucks," said AFL-CIO Secretary-
 Treasurer Richard Trumka.  "That's why we're giving working people the e-tools
 they need to take action and organize against outrageous CEO pay packages
 which lower the value of everyone's stock."
     PayWatch points out that while stock prices are falling, the average CEO
 made a record-breaking $20 million in 2000 -- that's nearly 50 percent more in
 stock options and 22 percent more in salary and bonus than last year.  The
 typical hourly worker received a three percent raise last year.  In 1999, CEOs
 made 476 times what the average blue-collar American worker made.  That's up
 from 42 times more in 1980, and 85 times more than in 1990.
     PayWatch visitors can also play GREED!: The Executive PayWatch Board Game,
 where they can win by grabbing a golden parachute, stacking the Board of
 Directors, cutting deals for extravagant perks and covering up poor
 performance.  Players lose points when shareholders revolt and file
 resolutions or lawsuits.
     Although PayWatch gives investors the tools they need to start a campaign
 at any company -- including information on how to call on the regulators, the
 IRS, and Congress -- the e-campaign features three corporate giants that  are
 dramatic case studies in overpay for no performance and where shareholders
 have submitted proposals on CEO pay in 2001: Sprint, Bank of America, and
 Conseco.
     According to PayWatch, a telephone line repair person would have to work
 1891 years to equal Sprint (NYSE:   FON) Chairman and CEO William Esrey's 2000
 compensation  -- and would have to repair 6.9 million working phones.  Esrey
 took home $69.3 million in total compensation and stock options in 2000, and
 $64.1 million in stock option exercises from prior grants.  The real windfall
 for Sprint executives came when Sprint's board changed the rules mid-game
 before the merger with MCI-WorldCom failed.  Executives got their golden
 parachutes early -- from early vesting of $1.1 billion in Sprint stock
 options, including $600 million for Sprint's top five executives -- then got
 to keep both the parachutes and their jobs. Cyber activists can use PayWatch
 to call on Esrey to give back undeserved options and to send an e-complaint to
 Sprint.  "Please keep a close eye on this director," reads the e-mail which
 visitors can send to the directors' other boards.  Visitors can support
 shareholder proposals at Sprint to prohibit repricing of outstanding executive
 stock without shareholder approval.
     Bank of America's (NYSE:   BAC) Hugh McColl reaped a total of $95.6 million
 in cumulative pay over the last five years.  In that same five year period,
 Bank of America's stock return underperformed the S&P Index by -34 percent. In
 addition to exposing cronyism on the compensation committee, PayWatch lets
 cyber activists e-mail their support to former director Shirley Young.
 According to Business Week, Hugh McColl may have forced out Young because she
 was too critical of the company's governance and McColl's pay.  Investors can
 find out how to support shareholder proposals at Bank of America to use
 "performance-based" stock options and to put future CEO severance packages to
 a shareholder vote.
     Conseco (NYSE:   CNC) is one of the largest sources of insurance, financial
 services and loans for consumers. When Conseco's new CEO, Gary Wendt, became
 CEO in June of last year, Conseco gave him a golden handshake that includes a
 signing bonus of $45 million, stock options worth almost $59 million and
 restricted shares worth $18.8 million.  Conseco recently took a $78 million
 charge against its earnings for over $600 million in loans given to executives
 and directors to buy Conseco stock.  Two directors were forced out and three
 others resigned because they owed millions of dollars after the company's
 share price collapsed. PayWatch lets visitors use the web to demand that the
 company collect on these bad debts -- they can e-mail the "dead beat"
 directors and send cyber letters to the companies that Conseco's directors sit
 on to let them know they have a CEO over-payer in their midst.
     In addition to the new PayWatch cyber campaign, PayWatch lets visitors
 compare their pay to their own CEO's pay.  People can find out how many years
 it would take them to earn what their CEO earns. The site also provides
 investors, workers and the public easy-to-understand summaries of CEO pay at
 1500 of America's largest corporations.
     According to 2001 opinion research by Peter Hart Research Associates, 78
 percent of the public says that it's important that everyone, not just the
 CEOs, gets their fair share in a growing economy. Survey respondents ranked
 this as one of the top three economy-related goals that are important for the
 future.
     Since its launch in 1997, PayWatch has remained among the Internet's most
 popular sites, with over 11 million hits last year and more than 30 million
 hits since its inception.
     The AFL-CIO is the umbrella organization for America's unions,
 representing more than 13 million working men and women around the nation.
 
 SOURCE  AFL-CIO