Fri, Sep 30, 2005
Senate Continues To Move Ahead With Reform Legislation
As the US Senate moves forward with comprehensive pension
reform, the three unions at American Airlines urged Congress to
ensure companies that continue to fulfill their pension funding
obligations are not disadvantaged by the final legislation.
Congress has been considering a special airline-specific provision
that would permit carriers that have frozen their defined-benefit
plans to extend the amortization period for full funding to 14
years, and it also includes the ability to use a "reasonable
interest rate" while doing so.
"As contemplated, this provision would withhold amortization and
interest-rate relief from companies such as American Airlines that
have continued to fund their defined-benefit plans and remained
solvent both as a result of employees' sacrifices and the
collaborative implementation of an effective business strategy,"
said Captain Ralph Hunter, Allied Pilots Association (APA)
President. "We believe our efforts at pension preservation should
be recognized, not punished. American Airlines should be accorded
at least the same consideration as companies that have determined
they cannot meet their funding obligations."
"American's defined-benefit plans
are the best funded in the airline industry," said Tommie L.
Hutto-Blake, Association of Professional Flight Attendants
President. "They have been managed prudently over the years and
have earned an average of well over 10 percent. We need legislation
that does not force us to freeze our plans."
"There should be a responsible alternative to a freeze for
companies and their employees that focused on maintaining their
plans' viability," said James C. Little, International Executive
Vice President & Director Air Transport Division, Transport
Workers Union. "It makes no sense to penalize us for taking a path
dedicated to maintaining our historically sound plans."
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