Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Chicago, reached a tentative agreement with United Airlines Inc., Chicago, on a new defined contribution plan to replace the defined benefit plan that was terminated June 30, according to Sara Nelson Dela Cruz, spokeswoman for the United Master Executive Council of the AFA-CWA, AFL-CIO. United flight attendants will vote on ratifying the agreement by the end of February. The ratification would resolve a year-long pension battle over the flight attendants' pension security. A U.S. District Court in Washington ruled Friday that termination of the airline's flight attendants' pension plan and its takeover by the PBGC complied with ERISA. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA had filed suit in May to stop the termination.
Jean Medina, director of media relations for United, confirmed an agreement was reached but could not confirm the terms, saying the AFA first needs to notify its members.
The new 401(k) plan would include a company match of up to 3% of along with a 2% direct contribution, both retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006. The direct contribution will increase to 2.5% on Jan. 1, 2007, and 3% on Jan. 1, 2008. All flight attendants currently employed by United would be immediately vested if ratified. Other details of the plan have not been decided, Ms. Dela Cruz said.