Machinists Address Pensions, Airline Management at Senate Merger Hearing

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) General Vice President Robert Roach ,Jr. today testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on the potential impact of airline mergers and industry consolidation.

"Proposed mergers must be scrutinized to ensure that employees' hard earned pensions are preserved," said Roach. "At a time when airline-sponsored pension plans have either been terminated or underfunded, preserving existing pension plans, and extending benefits to employees without pensions, is a priority for the IAM."

The IAM has been successful in negotiating replacement defined benefit pensions for members whose company-sponsored plans were destroyed, but many other airline workers have no guaranteed pensions. Machinists at US Airways,United Airlines, Aloha Airlines, British Airways, and Air Micronesia still have a defined benefit pension plan with the multi-employer IAM National Pension Plan. IAM members at Northwest Airlines will participate in the same pension plan when that carrier emerges from bankruptcy and IAM-represented Continental Airlines Flight Attendants are currently voting to join the secure IAM National Pension Plan.

"When considering the merger of two airlines, a key element to consider is how their management handled past mergers," said Roach. "US Airways has not yet negotiated a transition agreement with the Machinists Union that would merge our represented employee groups following its 2005 merger with AmericaWest Airlines. In the midst of this still incomplete merger, US Airways has now made a $10 billion bid for Delta Airlines. The financial sacrifices of USAirways' employees are what put the airline in the financial position to make such a proposal. Their issues deserve to be addressed at the bargaining table before US Airways is allowed merge with any other airlines."

The Machinists Union was the only labor representative testifying at today's important hearing. The IAM represents more than 100,000 airline employees in almost every classification, including Flight Attendant, Mechanic& Related, Fleet Service, Customer Service and Reservation Agents. The IAM'scomplete testimony is available at http://www.goiam.org.

SOURCE International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers


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