American Airlines Answers Pension Questions

Saturday, December 10th 2011, 6:07 pm
By: News On 6

American Airlines filed for bankruptcy last month. Saturday, employees past and present were given peace of mind about their pensions, after a special meeting at the Spirit Bank Event Center.

But they said they still feel uneasy.

American Airlines employees have been on edge since the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Current employees and retirees who have worked decades with the company were left wondering if the airline would be as loyal.

11/29/11 Related Story: American Airlines Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

"I really have no idea what's going to happen. I'm hoping to get some ideas," Lee LsSalle said.

"No one really knows what's gonna happen, until they file the 11-13C," Shawn Black said.

American held a special meeting Saturday for those employees to discuss the effects, if any, that the filing could have on their pay checks.

"Going down an unknown road there's a lot of questions to be answered," said Sam Cirri, President of Transport Union.

American officials discussed benefits for current employees.

"If they take that away, our supplement, then we are in big trouble, the older people are. I don't know what to do. What can you do?" said Leon Eldridge, Retired AA employee.

But, maybe the biggest issue of the day was pension plans for former employees. American is guaranteeing retirees that their pension will go untouched because of the pension benefit guaranty corporation.

"I think the PBGC is a saving grace in all the airline bankruptcies. As long as the government is in existence, we'll be okay because that backs up the PBGC," Jimmy Southern said.

However, they say they won't truly feel secure for a while. And employees and retirees say they just have to wait out the turbulence.

"We're all going to stand united, we're a union, and if we don't stand united what's gonna happen to everyone else in this country," employee Lou Howell said.

Even before American Airlines filed for chapter eleven, the pilot's union lobbied Congress to increase the maximum wages and benefits in bankruptcy cases.