US - Pensions could prove a key sticking point in the proposed merger between US Airways Group and Delta Air Lines.
Delta staff were angered US Airways had defaulted on its massive pension obligations, "yet somehow found the money to try takeover our airline," said Delta Air Line Pilots Association chairman Lee Moak.
"This is not the kind of leadership we could ever support." Delta employees, pilots and retirees were among the 104,851 people who signed a petition opposing the merger.
The petition stated any such move could be detrimental for Delta staff's benefits.
Unlike US Airways, Delta opted not to discard its pension obligations, and won the right to preserve pensions for 90,000 current and retired non-pilot employees, said Cathy Cone, chairman of retiree committees representing retired Delta people to the company and the Court.
She added Delta was now poised for profitability and ready to emerge from bankruptcy.
"But instead, as part of a merger, US Airways wants Delta to remain in bankruptcy for many more months to wring out additional synergies," said Cone. "We know what that means -- more Delta employees involuntarily joining the ranks of our retirees and perhaps even more retiree give backs. We don't deserve it. Delta retirees oppose this merger."
US Airways announced last November it had made a merger proposal to Delta Air Lines under which both companies would combine upon Delta's emergence from bankruptcy.
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