Saturday, December 13, 2008

GOP to blue collar Americans: Screw you

By Libby Spencer

While the GOP is busy disguising its union busting mission as a call for 'responsible management,' (by which they mean screw the union workers first), in obstructing the $14 billion Big 3 bridge loan, the 'responsible' beneficiary of the multibillion dollar bailout of the financial industry doesn't seem to be outraging Mitch McConnell enough to demand wage concessions from the white collar workers of AIG. The company received $152 billion tax dollars and what are they doing with it? Paying millions to some employees in its new retention program.

The company has told 168 employees they'll receive between $92,500 and $4 million per individual if they stay with the company for one year. [...]

Even though there are more layoffs every month, AIG says its top talent is being recruited to rival companies. In fact, the company says two of its top people just left this week, despite being offered big retention payments. AIG says it needs its best people to keep its healthy businesses profitable until it can sell them and the company plans to sell 65 percent of its businesses to repay its federal loan and get back on track.

I don't suppose it's possible no amount of money will keep some of their best talent from jumping ship when it's evident the company is extremely likely to fold anyway. But as the enraged critics on Capitol Hill point out, with "tens of thousands of people being laid off from Wall Street and financial firms every day" it's ridiculous to think that they wouldn't be able to find qualified replacements for anyone who might quit because they didn't get a multi-million dollar "retention" bonus.

Outraged pols on the Hill are sending sternly worded letters demanding details on the program. As if that's likely to work. Maybe they should have demanded some pre-determined compensation criteria before they handed over the big bucks, as they're now demanding from blue collar workers.

And I don't just blame the GOP here. Harry Reid is just as responsible for failing to stand up to the GOPers scare tactics. Frankly, I'm not so sure Reid secretly wouldn't like to see organized labor taken down himself. He's sold us out to his corporate overlords right along and management always wants to suppress labor, no matter which party they presumptively support.

I'm thinking since these people are effectively our employees, though they seem to have forgotten that long ago, perhaps it's time for the citizenry to demand some wage concessions from them.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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  • The collapse of the Big 3 automakers is likely finish off what is left of American manufacturing. You have Republican Senators from the South boasting about their state's foreign car plants. My guess is that non-union Southern auto workers will be next to join the unemployment line if no rescue plan is approved. Once the U.S. auto industry is dead and gone, the foreign car companies may well start shutting down the Southern factories and move to Mexico.

    By Blogger RightDemocrat, at 1:47 AM  

  • That's the thing that people who love hating on unions don't get. Union wages protect everyone by setting the bar. Without it, everyone's wages will drop.

    I think the problem is that no one remembers the world before unions and you only hear the stories about guys getting paid to sit around doing nothing. They certainly don't remember how hard labor fought to organize. People died in the beginning for it.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 9:31 AM  

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