The Association of U S West Retirees



PBGC to host meetings for UAL workers
One-hour sessions to offer information on pension changes
By Chris Walsh, Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, February 9, 2006

Current and former United Airlines workers in the Denver area will have an opportunity to hear firsthand how they'll be affected by the carrier's move to terminate its pension plans.  The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., an agency that insures corporate pension plans, will hold a series of one-hour informational meetings next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Holiday Inn near Denver International Airport.

The purpose:  "Bring basic information to workers about the status of their benefits," PBGC spokesman Jeffrey Speicher said.

The meetings are for current and retired United ground workers, flight attendants and management, administrative and public contact employees.  Additional sessions for pilots will be announced at a later date.  The PBGC is holding similar meetings in United's hub cities around the country.

United is the largest airline in Denver and employs more than 5,000 workers here.  Thousands of retirees also live in the region.

Last year, United terminated its pension plans covering more than 104,000 workers and retirees in an effort to trim $645 million in annual costs.  The pension plans, underfunded by $10 billion, were transferred to the PBGC.  But the agency will cover only $6.6 billion of United's pension liabilities, meaning many current and retired workers will see cuts.

Some retirees have said their monthly paychecks will drop by several hundred dollars or more.  Others won't see any changes.  Current workers will stop accruing pension benefits, although they can participate in a 401(k)-type plan going forward.

Affected workers already should have estimates of how their benefits will change.  Those who want an explanation of how the process works or who have questions about the estimates should attend one of next week's meetings, the PBGC said.

"This is for people who need to hear what's happening from a human being," Speicher said.  "Some also might have questions or might believe there's been an error."

United, the nation's second-largest airline, emerged last week from a three-year bankruptcy in which it cut $7 billion in overall costs.

More information

The PBGC will hold one-hour meetings next week at the Holiday Inn, 15500 E. 40th Ave., to talk to United Airlines workers about changes to their pension benefits.

  Tuesday:  9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. for flight attendants and management, administrative and public contact employees.

  Wednesday:  9 a.m. and 7 p.m. for flight attendants and management, administrative and public contact workers; 2 p.m. for flight attendants and ground workers.

Thursday:  9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. for flight attendants and ground workers.

  For more information, contact the PBGC's customer contact center at 1-800-400-7242 or visit or 303-892-2744,2777,DRMN_23912_4452112,00.html