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Flight Attendant Joins Members Of Congress For Pension Press Conference

Date: June 16, 2005

Washington, D.C - Jayme Manley, a flight attendant for United Airlines, joined Representatives George Miller (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) at a press conference yesterday to highlight the human aspect of the current pension crisis.

"I am college educated, community orientated, and family driven. I am 'the girl next door'," Manley said as she quoted the testimony she submitted to Representative Miller's Online Congressional Hearing earlier this month. "I am exactly what United Airlines sought when hiring me as a flight attendant 21 years ago. I am their past, but also United Airlines future! I am a promise broken. I am despair! I am the face of 20,000 flight attendants who may lose their defined pension benefit. I am a burden to the taxpayers."

Ellen Saracini, the wife of a United flight #175 Pilot whose plane was flown into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 also joined the press conference as a United pensioner. 

"I can't help but to ask myself at what point are companies allowed to take away so much from the lives of dedicated employees and their families?" said Saracini.  "At what point does our Government step in and stop atrocities such as this before they are allowed to irrevocably change the lives of so many?  I refuse to believe that this is the only solution that can be reached."

The press conference was held prior to a Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing regarding the current pension crisis. 

"The pension collapse at United is not the first and certainly not the last," said Miller. "It is time for Congress to stop watching Americans' hard earned pensions go down the drain.  It is time we listened to their stories.  And it is time we adopt legislation that addresses their need and not that exacerbates an already terrible situation."

"United employees have been responsible.  They have planned ahead.  When they signed up for their jobs, they were led to believe that they were making informed financial decisions for today and for their future," Representative Schakowsky said. "It is time for United employees and workers in the country to have the same retirement protections as executives."

"We are incredibly grateful for the efforts of Representatives Miller, Schakowsky, and DeFazio, alongside other upstanding lawmakers," said AFA United President Greg Davidowitch.  "They have worked tirelessly with us to educate Congress that United Airlines' pension default will set a precedent to destroy the retirement security of millions of Americans.  If Congress does not act fast, millions of Jayme Manley's will face the despair of losing their pensions."

75 Years of Safety & Service: 60 Years of Unity
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the flight attendant profession and the 60th anniversary of the Association of Flight Attendants.  More than 46,000 flight attendants, join together to form AFA-CWA, 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 www.afanet.org or www.unitedafa.org  for the latest on AFA-CWA at United Airlines.

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