Release #06.007
March 8, 2006

House Endorses Pension Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Pension reforms that could help airlines survive the economic downturn, and provide equitable treatment for retiring pilots, took anther step closer to realization today when the House of Representative appointed its conferees on a pension reform bill and instructed them to accept the Senate bills provisions on these issues.

I want to thank Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and all the members from both parties who voted for his motion to instruct the House negotiators to accept provisions in the Senate bill aimed at protecting airline workers, said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Intl.

Millers motion on H.R. 2830, the Pension Protection Act, was accepted by a wide 265-158 vote. This is an overwhelming display of bipartisanship, noted Woerth.

I urge the conference committee to now move forward and return a final bill that reflects the clear intentions of the House and Senate on these crucial pension reforms. The pensions of tens of thousands of airline workers hang in the balance, Woerth said.

The Republican conferees are Bill Thomas (CA), Dave Camp (MI), Sam Johnson (TX), Patrick Tiberi (OH), John Boehner (OH), Howard McKeon (CA), and John Kline (MN). The Democrats are George Miller (CA), Charles Rangel (NY), Robert Andrews (NJ), Donald Payne (NJ).

One of the crucial elements that the House vote endorsed is the Akaka amendment, which would change the PBGCs rules to protect airline pilots, who must stop flying at age 60, from having their pension benefits actuarially reduced once their retirement plan is terminated. Although the House motion is non-binding, it is a significant positive step in that the House of Representatives is now on record in overwhelming support of the airline funding and Akaka provisions as they proceed to conference with the Senate conferees.

ALPA represents 62,000 airline pilots at 39 carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is www.alpa.org.

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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440, media@alpa.org