US - Airlines that freeze their pension plans would be given up to 20 years to fully fund their employee pension plans under a motion passed by the House of Representatives.
The Democratic motion, passed by a vote of 265 to 158, instructs House negotiators to accept provisions in the Senate bill aimed at protecting airline workers.
“Airlines that have slid into financial trouble because of 9/11 and high gas prices ought to get extra time to make good on the pension promises they make to their employees,” said Democrat representative George Miller. “This is just commonsense and today, a majority of the House made a clear statement that it should also be the law.”
The House and Senate are preparing to meet in conference to debate their opinion differences on separate pensions bills passed last year. In recent years, both US Airways and United Airlines entered into bankruptcy and offloaded their pension plans onto the federal insurer, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, leading to cuts in workers’ benefits.
The motion would see airlines allowed up to 20 years to get their employee pension plans back to fully funded status, and put an end to benefit cuts for pilots who are under 65 when their pensions are dumped on the PBGC. The Federal Aviation Administration requires commercial airline pilots to retire at age 60.
By Kristen Paech
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