Coffee? Tea? Or My Retirement Security?

Workers for United Airlines are mad as hell and not going to take it any more.

The crowd of very angry current and former workers for United Airlines which showed up at the company’s bankruptcy hearing today was so big the hearing had to be postponed. Why so angry?

United Airlines is trying to dump its pension plan. That’s right, the company wants a judge to approve the default and let it shift its pension plan to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. If that happens, United workers will lose about a quarter of their total pensions.

Pensions aren’t a handout for retired workers. They are money that’s owed to them. Workers take smaller salaries in return for better pensions; as American Progress economist Christian Weller explains it, taking that money away is akin to your boss paying you $20,000, then turning around a year later and demanding $2,000 of that money back. It’s just wrong.

It’s not the first promise United Airlines has broken to retirees. In 2003, the company sweet-talked about 2,500 flight attendants into taking early retirement, telling them if they retired early, they could keep better health benefits. A few short months later, all but yelling, “Suckers!”, United doublecrossed the former workers, cutting those very same health benefits.

United Airlines. Flying the unfriendly skies.