It's official: You can count American International Group employees among those who raged against the company, along with just about everyone else in the world.
Employees in AIG's Financial Products unit, the division whose trading activities led the company to the brink of collapse, launched a fusillade of irate comments over demands they forgo the $165 million in bonuses they were due to collect for 2008, according to a transcipt of a conference call the unit head held with staff members last March and released today by the Washington Post.
"You made a commitment to us, and we made a commitment to you. And for anybody to look beyond that, as the politics and the media are at the moment, is missing the point," said one employee. "You can't expect us to just roll over and ignore that commitment because there is a bunch of immoral bigots that intend us to do something different. It's not going to happen."
News that the company planned to dole out more than $165 million in bonuses reported a week earlier had landed the insurance giant in a cesspool of public outrage and the center of attention on Capitol Hill. To date, the company has received $180 billion in government bailout funds. Behind closed doors, employees struck back.
"I think it violates everything I believe in, and it's un-American," one employee said that day, according to the transcript of the call.
Employees on the call told Gary Pasciucco, the executive brought on board to wind down the Financial Products division, that those responsible for the unit's demise had already left and they deserved to be compensated for staying behind to help clean up the mess. Pasciucco had a difficult task at hand: to calm the frustrated staff while softly urging them to return 50% of the bonus money in hopes that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo won't follow through with his threat to make the employee names public.
"Is this blackmail? To a certain extent, it is," Pasciucco told employees that morning. "If the only reason you would give money back is because you are afraid for your family and you are afraid for your safety, then it is."