So the big airlines want what United got though the federal courts, namely they want concessions on their pension programs.
A federal judge recently gave United Air Lines the right to back out of their pension obligations for five years, defaulting to the federal government... which will cover less than 70% of payments to those employees who contributed sizable portions of their own money into the system.
So now the rest of the airlines want in on that. They're going to Congress... hat-in-hand... and BEGGING Congress to relax the already super-loose pension rules so they can keep some more money and let the federal government pick up more of the costs of their pensions.
But members of Congress decided to give the airline execs a grilling for what they want. They're sitting in their committees with their self-righteous indigignation on full tilt, blasting the suits away about being irresponsible and reckless and all of the pain and misery that will be inflicted on the poor American workers!
Well I've got news for you folks... it's all an act.
Those same airline execs will be back to meet up with members of Congress, but they won't be back begging and pleading. Instead, they'll have their checkbooks out. They'll show up at the next fundraiser, or they'll foot the bills for the next Congressional junket.
The next thing you know, those rules breaks will be quietly inserted inside an appropriations bill, or tacked onto some other bill that has nothing at all to do with the airlines. And if the press gets wind of it, those same members of Congress that appeared to be so "concerned" about the poor American workers will turn around and say how America really NEEDS to have the airline industry survive instead of falling into bankruptcy.
Remember that these are the same people who run Social Security and the federal budget, and we know how "reliable" those things are, don't we? These are the same people who couldn't even run their own banks! Both the House and the Senate had their own banks, and both banks collapsed because the members of Congress drove those banks to ruin. If these guys can't even balance their own checkbooks or the checkbooks of the nation, how can they be expected to hold the airline executives accountable?
Oh, and it needs to be said... it doesn't matter which political party pretended to be on "your" side on this matter, both parties will hose you over. That's the one thing that's truly bi-partisian about Congress... both parties will hose you just to pocket some extra campaign bucks or to lay out in the Bahamas!
So yeah, all you guys in the airline industry who have invested in your pension program should expect that infamous letter from your big bosses saying that you're going to lose about a third of what you've been putting in over the years, and you're not going to get it back. It's gone... pocketed by your employers as part of their big bonuses, or else given to the same members of Congress who pretended to get all high-and-mighty in your name.