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Flight Attendants Appeal Pension End-Run

Date: May 18, 2005

Court Petition Crucial for Retirement Security of Millions of Americans

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA) today filed a notice of appeal to overturn the bankruptcy court’s approval of the agreement between United Airlines and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The agreement approved by the bankruptcy court would terminate the flight attendants’ defined benefit pension plan and set in motion a collapse of the pension benefit system intended to protect the retirement security of millions of Americans.

“United’s high-priced lawyers used a cheap procedural maneuver to pre-empt our rightful day in court to defend our plan under the standards of pension and bankruptcy law,” stated Greg Davidowitch, President of the AFA United Airlines Master Executive Council. “The PBGC said our plan ‘can and should be maintained’ beyond an exit from bankruptcy, only to suddenly reverse itself and agree to terminate our plan. Now they are going to have to explain their turnabout to the court.”

The appeal is to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

“Over 120,000 United Airlines employees thought their company’s pension promise was a sacred trust for a lifetime of service. Glenn Tilton’s $4.5 million pension trust remains untouched, but current executives found a way to dump the airline’s most honored social contract with its employees onto the PBGC’s overburdened balance sheet,” Davidowitch continued. “This maneuver would set a precedent for the rest of corporate America to follow, likely ending retirement security for millions of Americans and causing taxpayers to foot the bill. We are fighting for the long-term viability of our pensions, but this is a fight that’s crucial for every working American.”

More than 46,000 Flight Attendants, including the 21,000 Flight Attendants at United, join together to form AFA, the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at http://www.unitedafa.org/.

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