Pilots, Senator Urge House Pension Action

November 28 - Pilots and flight attendants on Monday joined U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) at SeaTac Airport for a roundtable discussion followed by a news conference to urge members of the House and President Bush to follow the Senate’s lead and support meaningful pension reform.

“Airline workers, like workers at so many other companies, have worked with pride for decades to make their companies successful,” Sen. Cantwell said. “This pension bill will help airlines keep their promises to their employees and will help airlines provide the stable retirements workers were promised.”

On November 16, the Senate passed legislation designed to encourage employers to make good on their pension obligations by providing a 20-year amortization period for underfunded defined-benefit plans. Additionally, the Senate proposal contains provisions extending the PBGC’s maximum guaranteed age-65 benefits to pilots who must retire at age 60.

Capt. Ken Rogers, ALPA's national Retirement & Insurance Committee chairman, thanked Sen. Cantwell for her efforts in the Senate but stated that much work still needs to be done, and done quickly.

“This is intelligent legislation on complex issues. We urge her colleagues in the House to take swift action on this legislation,” Capt. Rogers said.

The House of Representatives is expected to consider its version of pension reform, H.R.2830, when it returns from recess next week.