A janitor who sanitizes and sterilizes rooms in the emergency department at Research Medical Center in Kansas City in Missouri who contracted Covid-19 on the job last year was named Employee of the Month and given a $6 cafeteria voucher upon his return to work, while the CEO of the firm that owns the hospital saw his total compensation package grow to $30.4 million.
"It made me sit back
and say, 'This place doesn't care for me,'" said Brown, a member of the Service Employees International Union who makes $13.77 an hour after nearly four years at the hospital.
Even in the year of Covid-19, 2020, the company, HCA Healthcare, generated $51.5 billion in revenue, its shares are up by 14% this year.
HCA's chief executive, Samuel N. Hazen, received last year to $30.4 million, a 13% rise from 2019. The total worth of his compensation package equaled 556 times the compensation received by the median employee at HCA—$54,651. Because Brown, the emergency department worker, makes even less than the median, Hazen got roughly 1,000 times Brown's pay. Brown says he lives with his sister because he doesn't earn enough from his job at Research Medical to pay for his own apartment. He said he hasn't had a raise in two years.
When it comes to the CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio, HCA is not even the worst offender at 556-to-1.
C. Douglas McMillon, Walmart's CEO, was paid $22 million in 2019, 983 times more than the median worker. Acuity Brands, an industrial technology company, paid its CEO, Neil M. Ashe, $21 million last year, or 2,316 times the median employee's pay. Lawrence Culp of General Electric got $73.2 million last year, the lion's share of it in stock awards that vest when performance and service requirements are met. The value of the package put Culp at 1,357 times the median GE worker. Starbucks, the ubiquitous coffee shop chain, paid its CEO, Kevin Johnson, $14.7 million last year. That was 1,211 times the pay of its median employee, the company's filings noted.