Picture of Disney CEO Bob Iger

Bob Iger, CEO and Chairman of The Walt Disney Company | © Disney

Bloomberg has an article on the recent increase to Bob Iger’s executive compensation as the CEO and Chairman of The Walt Disney Company.

His compensation rose 35 percent to $46.5 million in 2014, according to a filing today.

The average front-line cast member salary is $9.32 per hour. When you factor in the average hours worked by US standards that comes to 1788 hours per year for an annual salary of $16,664.16.

According to the US Government a family is at the poverty level when they make less than $23,850 annually for a family of four. So many of these cast members do not make a living wage, or need to work extra jobs to meet that basic minimum in a civilized society.

On the opposite side of the spectrum you have Bob Iger’s 35% pay raise bringing his compensation to $46,500,000. This works out to an hourly wage of $26,006. To put that into perspective, he makes more in one hour than most of his cast members will make in an entire year, beating the poverty level for a family of four by a decent percentage.

Show me one front-line cast member from the parks, resorts or television division (Disney’s cash cows) that got a 35% pay raise for their work in 2014 – just one. Heck, show me one mid-level manager that got a similar percentage-based raise across the entire company. You won’t find it. As all corporations go, the good pay goes to the people that don’t need it or even deserve it in most cases, while forgetting the strong backs of the hard workers they are standing on.

I understand that rich boards like to reward rich CEOs for their hard work and Disney’s stock has been performing well as of late, but to have that disparity between executives and their lowest paid employees is shameful. The damage it does to the morale of the cast members is incalculable and should be stopped across corporate America. I understand that people should be able to attain a level of success in this life, but to have a CEO making almost 2800 times that of their lowest paid employee should be a crime.

I would hope, just once, that an executive like Bob would realize that his success is the direct result of those underneath him and reward them instead. He continues to be one of the highest paid CEOs in America and has accrued over $150 million in compensation in just the past five years . With these numbers it is clear that he, and the other over-paid C-suite residents, are not struggling as so many of the cast members working for him are .

When Walt and Roy ran the company, they personally invested in its success over the years. Bringing their families to the brink of bankruptcy multiple times over the years to build the company we all know and love today. Driving innovation in every industry through their personal and financial commitments. That commitment drove them to build something greater than themselves and imbued that spirit in their entire cast is something that is lacking at Disney today.

The current Disney executives seem to think the business is an ATM and continue to withdraw at an exorbitant rate and to the detriment of the hard working cast members and long-term growth of the company. I find it shameful that the board has chosen this direction neglecting thousands of other workers who are much more deserving of a substantial raise to their salaries and standards of living.