Airline pension hearing in cyberspace

Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) launched an online hearing May 24 into United Airlines’ decision to dump $6.6 billion of its pension obligations. The first ever e-hearing by the House of Representatives was called, Miller said, “because the Republican majority will not hold hearings into these crucial matters.” Miller’s office has solicited testimony from United retirees and employees, from United management, from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (the federal pension insurer) and from experts on retirement issues. The hearing website is http://edworkforce.house.gov/democrats/unitedhearing.html.

Miller and Schakowsky have introduced HR2327 which would prevent bankrupt companies — including United — from unloading their workers’ pension plans onto the federal government for the next six months.

“The impact of multiple pension terminations — first at the airlines and then across America — is designed to make all pension plans radioactive while allowing corporations to pocket billions in benefits that rightfully belong to U.S. workers and their families,” said the International Association of Machinists in an internet bulletin.

The bulletin urged support of HR2327.