Aetna CEO Says He Was Shocked By How Little Some Employees Were Paid: Part 6

Mark Bertolini's company Aetna raised salaries to at least $16 an hour, among other improvements for employees.
3:20 | 01/14/17

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Transcript for Aetna CEO Says He Was Shocked By How Little Some Employees Were Paid: Part 6
Reporter: Last November, a group called just capital announced a bold idea. They were going to rank companies not by profits, but other qualities. They polled Americans about which qualities they admired the most in a business. And up came leadership, worker safety. But number one on the list? Paying a fair wage. Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Jones started just capital, and he thinks American consumers are ready to spend their money on companies they most admire. The people who run corporate America today, they're generally good people. They're good family people. I think they'll welcome a little bit of a shifting of what priorities should be back to core American values that come from main street. Reporter: And all over the country, there are business leaders saying it's time to bring new ideas to American workers and their wages. The well-known burger joint that gives employees stock options. Some companies help pay off college loans. And some of the most exciting ideas are rethinking education and giving workers a path to the future. BMW in South Carolina trying to create a school to job highway. The company created a program to train people in mechanics, robotics. And so far, every graduate got a job at BMW with the prospect of salaries up to $90,000. And this is a man named mark Bertolini, who has ideas of his own. He's the son of an auto worker, successful CEO of a goliath company, Aetna health care. 49,000 employees. Bertolini says it all has to begin with corporate leaders who want to learn the lives of their workers. Where do they live? And what are their lives like? And it took me six months to get that data. But once I got the data, I was embarrassed. Reporter: He says when he became CEO, he was surprised to discover that some of his full time employees were paid so little, they had to go on public assistance. I said, "How can we let this happen?" Here we are, a major fortune 50 company, with employees who are suffering every day to make ends meet. Reporter: So Aetna raised salaries to at least $16 an hour. They're helping workers pay down college debts. Bertolini even pays workers to sleep more at night. And he vowed not to pass any of these costs on to the Aetna consumer. You know, our stock price is up. You know, we haven't lost a step. But we've spent millions of dollars doing this. Reporter: I don't understand, if it's obviously a great investment, if it's -- your stock price is still gonna go up, you would think it would be obvious that everyone would be doing it. But they are not. Why are they not? We need to change the dialogue. Reporter: A dialogue, he says, that creates a new measure of success. 18% of the American public actually believes corporations are good. 18%. So, you know, how much lower do we need to go before we figure out this doesn't work? And so, instead of waiting for it to go away, why don't we step forward with some courage and conviction to make it better? Reporter: A new capitalism. Yeah, let's reinvent it. I mean, we're the captains of it. Why shouldn't we be the ones that say, "Here's the new way"? Let's us, as a group of people, stand for something, and say, "We're gonna do something about this." Reporter: And Bertolini says if there are CEOs in America who don't know where to start, just give him a call.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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