Class Warfare: ‘Working Families’ Offer Field Trip to AIG Executives’ Mansions
March 20, 2009 - 10:18 AMThe pro-union Connecticut Working Families Party -- tapping into some of the rage surrounding AIG bonuses -- is sponsoring a "field trip" on Saturday to show working people from Hartford and Bridgeport how and where the AIG executives live.
Those executives "bear a large share of the responsibility for bringing the economy to its knees, and now the same folks are getting hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses -- at our expense," Connecticut Working Families says on its Web site. "Join us for a field trip to bring them the message."
Jon Green, the director of Connecticut Working Families, told the New York Times on Friday that his group would be “peaceful and lawful” and would not “foment” lingering rage at AIG “unnecessarily.”
The field trip will “give folks in Bridgeport and Hartford and other parts of Connecticut who are struggling and losing their homes and their jobs and their health insurance an opportunity to see what kinds of lifestyle billions of dollars in credit-default swaps can buy,” Green told the newspaper.
The Times on Friday noted that some AIG executives fear for their safety. One man quoted by name in the newspaper said his privacy has been invaded. Another one said the government's treatment of private citizens – the AIG employees -- is "worse than McCarthyism." He told the New York Times that employees of AIG's financial products division have been sacrificed for the political agendas of other people.
Some AIG executives living in Connecticut reportedly have hired security guards.
In addition to Saturday's field trip, Connecticut Working Families also is collecting signatures on an open letter to AIG executives. "Congratulations on your bonus, we’re sure you worked very hard for it. Having said that, you might have noticed that things are not going very well for the rest of us," the letter reads.
"Here’s the point: $165 million may not seem like a huge amount of money for AIG or its top executives. But for Connecticut families struggling just to get by, for those of us who are losing our homes, losing our healthcare, losing our jobs, this is a lot of money."
The letter demands that AIG executives give back the bonuses awarded to them in their employment contracts. On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would tax at 90 percent the bonuses awarded to people at bailed-out companies.
Working Families says it was formed by a coalition of community organizations, labor unions and neighborhood activists. "We're bus drivers from Hartford, students in New Haven, small business owners in Fairfield, Wal-Mart workers from New Britain, lawyers from South Windsor, building service workers in Danbury, police officers in Waterbury, submarine builders in Groton, and school paraprofessionals in Ellington."
Its Web site distinguishes between "regular people" and "big-money backers, lobbyists and huge corporations."