November 16, 2005
Senate Pension Reform Legislation: One Step Closer to Victory for Airline Pilots
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), issued the following statement today after the U.S. Senate brought the “Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005” (S.1783) to the floor by unanimous consent and approved the measure by a 97-2 vote. Before the final passage, the Senate adopted, by an overwhelming voice vote, an amendment offered by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) that provides a 20-year amortization period for unfunded pension plan liabilities. In addition, the Senate adopted by a 58-41 vote an amendment offered by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) that would apply the PBGC’s normal retirement age guarantee limit to pilots at their mandatory retirement age of 60.
“The Air Line Pilots Association hails the Senate’s passage of the ‘Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005’ as a major milestone for airline pilots. This legislation will make it possible for several airlines to live up to their promise of a secure retirement pension to tens of thousands of airline employees, and will restore much of what thousands of other pilots have lost in terminated pensions.
“We applaud Senators Isakson, Rockefeller, Lott, Akaka, and Specter for their tremendous leadership on behalf of airline employees across the nation. Congress recognized the uniqueness of the airline industry in the Isakson-Rockefeller-Lott amendment and the uniqueness of airline pilots in the Akaka-Specter amendment.
“By extending the amortization period to 20 years, the Senate has helped to prevent existing defined-benefit plans from being terminated and will help ensure a secure retirement for airline employees.
“We urge the U.S. House to follow the Senate’s lead and act swiftly on HR 2830 to facilitate a conference between the House and Senate before the Congress adjourns at the end of the year. Thousands of faithful employees’ futures are hanging in the balance.”
ALPA represents 63,000 airline pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440, or firstname.lastname@example.org.