The union read news reports about AIG asking comp cop Kenneth Feinberg permission to pay a couple hundy million in bonuses this morning and after snorting to itself and remarking "who do these guys fuckin' think they are" to no one in particular, sat down to compose the following (John McEnroe-inspired) response. To be fair, SEIU acknowledges that it was the crooks at Citi that originally set them off earlier this week but no matter: you people are unbelievable. Anyone else want to step into the line of fire and announce it's going to be paying employees a kajillion dollars while taxpayers scrape by on Food Stamps? Bank of America? Anyone?
SEIU ON AIG BONUS REQUESTS: YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING US.
SEIU Demands AIG Halt Million-Dollar Bonuses for Top Execs
Stern: AIG and U.S. Chamber Just Don't Get It.
Washington, DC--Today, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who staged nationwide protests over AIG bonuses in March, demanded that AIG halt the millions in bonuses they are seeking to give top executives. Additionally, SEIU took aim at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who has consistently defended the bonus pay-outs.
"Even after snagging billions in bailout money, AIG still has its hand out to struggling taxpayers, and the U.S. Chamber is right beside them rattling the can," said Andy Stern, SEIU International President. "The greedy CEOs who tanked our economy don't need another million-dollar bonus, but working families do need an economy that works for everyone. AIG needs to halt its insane request to reward themselves once more, and the US Chamber needs to give up its role as chief defender of the broken system."
In a Fox News Sunday interview last month, Chamber president Thomas Donohue defended the bonuses. In answer to interviewer Chris Wallace's question, "So are you saying if AIG wants to give million-dollar bonuses, so be it?" Donohue answered:
I'm saying if -- AIG is in a lot of trouble, but I'm saying if it took the right people to fix AIG, you're going to have to pay them. Same thing right here in this network. You know, if you lost your -- you couldn't pay your very best people, I'm not sure they'd stay. They'd probably go to another network.
This news comes just one week after Citigroup announced it is also raising salaries by as much as 50 percent for investment bankers and other top executives, to accommodate for smaller annual bonuses.
"Even as average Americans scrimp and save, there continues to be this poisonous culture in corporate America, that says that greed and corruption and 'what's in it for me' are all acceptable," continued Stern. "We don't believe it is. We believe that it's time to hold corporate executives accountable, and create an economy that works for average Americans. That's why we're working hard to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers a voice on the job, and allow them to bargain with their employers for job security, better wages and benefits."
In March, SEIU organized nationwide protests during which they presented AIG with an oversized "Reality Check" from taxpayers. Video footage of the protest in front of AIG's Washington, DC office can be found here: http://www.seiu.org/2009/03/a-reality-check-for-aig.php.