Vikram Pandit's Citigroup got $45 billion in government bailouts last year, and Pandit made $38 million.
Eleven million people lost their jobs and the government spent billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out companies -- but CEOs still made a killing in 2008.
Of 946 companies in the Russell 3000 index that the labor group surveyed, 480 execs got pay raises, while 463 took a cut.
Not bad for one of the worst economic climates since the Great Depression.
The labor group, which represents about 11 million workers, used publicly reported data and teamed up with independent research group Corporate Library for its survey.
The survey included stock options given to CEOs but not yet vested. By that method, median CEO pay jumped seven percent last year. And for those who got a boost, the average jump was $5.4 million.
Companies usually don't spell out such perks in annual compensation reports -- for good reason.
When all perks were taken into account, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit would have had to defend a $38 million haul, instead of the $11 million he reported as "compensation" in SEC filings, according to the report.