This information is no longer current - it is for reference only. It is an archive review of events that took place during United Airline's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy from December 9, 2002 - February 1, 2006.

Our Pension Fight

Last Updated: November 1, 2005

Our Pension FightCurrent United Airlines management, working with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) began the termination of our Contractually-mandated defined benefit pension plan on June 30, 2005 and triggered our right to strike. We are engaged in a three track fight to save our pensions including legal appeal, legislative action and, if necessary, the implementation of our Union's trademarked CHAOS™ strikes.

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Losing our pensions is unacceptable. Two-thirds of us will lose over half of our modest pension benefits under United's plan to terminate and replace our pension plan. In all, 28,000 active and retired Flight Attendants will be affected.

The bankruptcy court approved a backroom deal between the PBGC and United Airlines for a $1.5 billion payment to terminate all employee pension plans, while our CEO Glenn Tilton's $4.5 million pension trust remains untouched. Tilton and his team have gone out of their way to evade our pension rights under the law and because of the $1.5 billion deal with the PBGC, no court in this country has heard evidence that termination is necessary as required under the law. This sets a dangerous precedent for the retirement security of all Americans.

We are fighting for our pensions, our day in court and to make sure that no one has to face the uncertainty and devastation Flight Attendants confront today.

United would paint us as the hold-out, renegade group that won't compromise, but that's just not true. We've already agreed to life-altering sacrifices in two concessionary agreements (Agreement #1 and Agreement #2) for the success of our airline. When we can determine the necessity under the law, we get the painful job done - but that's far from the reality today.

In 2003, in addition to substantial Contractual pay and benefit changes, we modified our pension formula, essentially freezing the accrual of pension benefits for six years to ensure that our plan could remain affordable throughout United's bankruptcy and well beyond. Because our benefits are modest and our pension concessions have already been made, our plan is the most affordable and it does not need to be terminated.

We agreed to a second round of $131 million in annual sacrifices that put our wage rates at 1991 levels, and separated the pension issue - requiring United management to meet with us to seek alternatives to termination of our pension plan. We proposed a solution pdf icon(349 KB - 10 pages) to shore up the funding shortfall with the equity we had accrued through the billions of dollars in sacrifices already made by Flight Attendants along with the money management otherwise intends to fund a replacement plan. But that proposal was rejected by the company.

The PBGC responded pdf icon(62 KB - 10 pages) favorably to our proposal and responded that our plan 'can and should be maintained' beyond an exit from bankruptcy, only to reverse its position when achieving its $1.5 billion deal to terminate all of the plans.

Management needs to stop the termination talk and get serious at the table about working with our good faith proposal to save the plan.

In addition to utilizing CHAOS to protect our retirement security and seeking legal appeal in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, we are urging lawmakers to take legislative action.

We don't want to strike, but we will if that's the only way to maintain our retirement security and preserve the career that has attracted the talent that is key to United's success.

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