Machinists Union Welcomes Pension Victory
Washington, D.C., April 8, 2004 - In an overdue victory for recession ravaged airline workers, the Senate passed legislation today that protects the pension plans of more than 100,000 transportation workers covered by defined benefit pension plans.
"Without this legislation, struggling airlines could be forced by investors to terminate employee pension plans to escape or avoid bankruptcy," said Tom Buffenbarger, international president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). "I credit the thousands of airline and non-airline workers who contacted their representatives and demanded action to protect these hard-won retirement benefits."
The Senate voted by a 78-19 margin to approve the bipartisan Pension Stability Act, establishing a two-year recovery period where companies with under funded plans would not be required to make 100 percent of the additional contributions required by current law. The additional contributions, called deficit reduction contributions, could force solvent companies into bankruptcy or encourage companies to dissolve otherwise healthy pension plans in order to exit bankruptcy.
"This measure protects employees' pensions in an industry that is struggling to overcome the worst travel recession in our nation's history," said IAM Transportation Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. "We commend Congress for taking this step and we encourage the President to sign this bill without delay."
The IAM represents nearly 90,000 active and retired airline workers covered by defined benefit pension plans. Click
www.goiam.org more information about the IAM.