Flight Attendants Score Key Victory in Congress
June 24, 2005
Over 30 House Republicans Join Democrats to Block PBGC Funding to Terminate Pension Plans
WASHINGTON DC - Flight attendants at United Airlines scored a key legislative victory today in their battle to preserve their pension plan. The House of Representatives passed an amendment to an appropriations bill prohibiting the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) from spending funds on the termination of their pension plan. If adopted by the Senate and passed into law, termination of the flight attendants' pension plan would be stopped in its tracks.
"This is a significant win for United flight attendants, and for all working Americans who are concerned about retirement security," said Greg Davidowitch, president of the Association of Flight Attendants at United. "In the battle between corporate America and working people, the House of Representatives today sided with the people."
Just yesterday the PBGC announced in legal notices in major newspapers that it would terminate the Flight Attendant Pension Plan on June 30, 2005. The agency had earlier insisted that the flight attendants' pensions "can and should survive" United's reorganization in bankruptcy. But, after reaching an agreement under which United would pay $1.5 billion in settlement of the PBGC's bankruptcy claim, the agency reversed itself and agreed to terminate the plan.
"The deal between United and the PBGC was an outrageous attempt to evade the intent of existing law," said Davidowitch. "Congress has illustrated today that the people of this country, not special interest big money, are the source of all political power. We are incredibly grateful to Representatives George Miller, Jan Schakowsky, Ray LaHood, and Joseph Crowley for their persistence and encouragement of their colleagues to act as idealistic servants for every worker in this country who deserves a dignified retirement for a lifetime of service."
More than 46,000 flight attendants, including the 20,000 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/.