Workers' Pensions In Crisis As Senate Set To Break
July 28, 2005
Flight Attendants Urge Senate Action to Preserve Options Other than Strike
CHICAGO -- Flight attendants are outraged that the United States Senate has been slow to act for the retirement security of American workers and narrowed the options of United Flight Attendants in their fight to preserve their pensions. Flight attendants at United Airlines have engaged in a three track fight to save their pensions including legal appeal, legislative action and, if necessary, the implementation of CHAOS™ strikes.
"The United States Senate has been slow to act for the rights of every United Airlines employee who deserves a dignified retirement for a lifetime of service and now threatens to leave workers' pensions in crisis while Congress starts its month-long recess," stated Greg Davidowitch, president of the Association of Flight Attendants at United Airlines.
"We have experienced first hand the extraordinary political and monetary capital spent by current United Airlines management in making sure that flight attendants do not receive the pensions they were promised. It shouldn't take an act of Congress to ensure a workers' retirement, but unfortunately due to the belligerence of United Airlines management, it does. We call upon the senior Senator from Illinois to take the lead and champion the right to a dignified retirement today."
One month ago the House of Representatives made a decisive statement for the protection of retirement security for all Americans. The House overwhelmingly passed an amendment to an appropriations bill with bipartisan support to prohibit the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) from spending funds on the termination of pension plans. Following the House vote, Illinois Senator Durbin issued a statement making "clear that the management of United Airlines needs to sit down with the flight attendants to reach a fair agreement to protect pension rights… Absent that, we will not rule out Senate action."
"If legislation is not introduced in the United States Senate to undo the backroom deal between United Airlines and the PBGC before the Senate breaks for a month, we must assume protecting retirement security for United flight attendants is not a priority," Davidowitch exclaimed. "That leaves us with few options other than to strike."
United Airlines turned the flight attendant's contractually-mandated defined benefit pension plan over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) on June 30 and triggered their right to strike.
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, including the 20,000 at United, 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 http://www.unitedafa.org/.