WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on June 24 approved an amendment submitted by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., to a spending bill that could prohibit the PBGC from spending the money necessary to take over the pension plans of United Airlines, according to a statement issued by Mr. Miller's office. The House passed the spending bill later that day. Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., co-sponsored the amendment.
"This vote sends a strong message to United Airlines and any other employers looking to follow United's lead: You can't just walk away from the promises you made to your workers," Mr. Miller said in the statement.
Gary Pastorius, PBGC spokesman, said the agency is "studying the measure for its impact if it were to be enacted."
Jean Medina, United spokeswoman, said: "Our agreement with the PBGC is, as both the agency and the bankruptcy court have agreed, necessary — a fact that no legislation can change."
Separately, United parent UAL Corp. and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers on June 17 agreed on a five-year collective bargaining agreement that includes transferring 20,000 baggage handlers, customer service representatives and other ground workers to the IAM's $6.4 billion multiemployer National Pension Fund, Washington, instead of into a new UAL 401(k) plan.