Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., today asked PBGC Executive Director Bradley Belt to hold off taking over United Airlines' underfunded pension plans for six months pending an independent analysis of the airline's ability to financially support the plans, and to give Congress time to consider pension reform legislation.
Mr. Miller, the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, told Mr. Belt in a letter today that it was "perplexing" and "inconceivable" that the PBGC could oppose terminating the United plans in early April and shut them down weeks later. Mr. Miller cited a letter the PBGC chief sent last month to Gregg S. Lerner, an attorney at Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman LLP, in which Mr. Belt wrote, "based upon available information, we continue to believe that the interest of the participants and the pension insurance program would best be served by the continuance of the AFA Plan." The PBGC announced plans to terminate the flight attendants plan as well as the other United plans about two weeks later.
A PBGC spokesman said Mr. Belt was traveling and might not have seen Mr. Miller's letter.
The PBGC's takeover of the United pension plans was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago last week.