When it comes to corporate greed, union leaders at American Airlines say "AMR" sounds a lot like "AIG."
Labor officials are criticizing executives with American Airlines parent AMR Corp., comparing a slate of upcoming executive bonuses to payouts distributed by the bailed-out insurance giant American International Group. The AIG bonuses, paid after the company received $170 billion in federal funds, have enraged taxpayers and been condemned by President Barack Obama and members of Congress.
The comparison to the poster child for corporate gluttony may be a difficult one. Despite its financial troubles, American hasnt received taxpayer money. And the airlines executive bonuses will be far less lucrative than the $165 million in retention payments to top AIG managers.
Still, leaders with the airlines unions say employees feel the same resentment borne by taxpayers.
"If you compare us to AIG, Americans executives took bailout money from the employees in 2003, and theyve rewarded themselves with millions of dollars in bonuses ever since," said Scott Shankland, an American pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association. "And in the meantime, the airline is doing terrible."
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