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30/09/2008 - From The Mail Bag : Pilot Pensions
The other day "walp" left a comment on my post regarding the Delta & Northwest Airlines shareholders vote on the airlines merging (25/09/2008 – The Delta Airlines & Northwest Airlines Merger : The Shareholders Vote Today). The comment left by "walp" caused me to read it, and reread it, a number of times.
I was going to post a link to the comment left by "walp" in my weekly round up, however I have chosen to simply post their comment here directly for you all to read.
It probably seems to make sense to make this deal a reality but employees need to beware. Bad things happen to airline employees and you will read one sad story below.
According to several sources, Mr. Anderson, the current leader of Delta Air Lines, does not plan to reopen the issue of Delta Retired Pilots Pensions.
When Delta entered bankruptcy a little over 3 years ago, the very first day they requested and were given permission by the court to eliminate the retired pilots pension even though they had the funds in place to continue with these pensions.
The pension funds were given to the government entity called Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. This outfit takes over failed pensions and throws all the funds from these failed plans into one pot and uses some magic formulas to come up with some pittance for the unfortunate pensioner. They were very happy to get all the hundreds of millions from the Delta pilots pension fund since they need the money to stay solvent. Now, instead of the retired Delta pilots receiving what they worked their entire careers earning the PBGC worked their magic and decided we should receive a very small percentage of our original earned pension. Yes, earned, it was part of our compensation that was put into the fund all during our career. Now it has been stolen by delta and they do not want to reinstate it but they will pay the pensions of the retired Northwest pilots.
Can anybody explain how it will be fair for a pilot that worked his or her entire career for Delta and now has only approximately 10-12% of his or her original pension paid by the PBGC.
Now, Delta and Northwest are going merge and the new airline will be called Delta and as I noted earlier, the retired Northwest pilots will continue to get their pensions from Delta and the original REAL Delta Pilots will not be reinstated to the same pension.
Totally unfair and nothing that the Delta retired pilots had the choice or opportunity to vote on. The deal was struck between ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association - the union) and the former Delta management. Again, retired Delta pilots had no choice.
I want the news media and every blog and internet source to jump on this discussion as well as any customer of this giant bully called Delta.
Almost no current Delta passenger or customer knows what happened to the small group of retired pilots that were treated so grossly unfair.
The NEW Delta needs to do what is right and that is to include the original Delta retired pilots in the new company pilot pension plan.
It will take some undoing of past agreements and require somehow reaquiring the pension moneys that were simply given to the PBGC but if the lawyers could figure out how to take it away from this group then, they can figure out how to reaquire the funds.
Delta spent untold millions to attorneys to do the bankruptcy and try as we could, the small group of retired Delta pilots could not ever come up with enough money to combat the army of Delta attorneys, we were simply railroaded.
Any legal costs to reinstate our pensions should be born by Delta since they are the ones that did the deed. It is only the right thing to do.
Come on folks, jump in on this issue. Lets hear what you have to say. Do you agree that Delta should reinstate the retired Delta Pilots Pension Fund that was taken away? If you disagree, speak up with your reasons.
Remember, it could be your group next. No labor group is immune.
I can't say I disagree with anything "walp" has said in this comment.