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UNITED TO END PENSION PLANS

United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton reiterated the carrier's intent Monday to eliminate unionized employees' current pension plans and replace existing labor contracts as necessary to obtain bankruptcy exit financing.

Escalating fuel prices have left the airline in no position to compromise on its cutback plans, Tilton said.

United, a unit of Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based UAL Corp., said in a bankruptcy filing Monday that it intends to replace existing pensions and tear up collective bargaining agreements with the mechanics and machinists unions if they don't agree to permanent pay cuts and other concessions by a May 11 trial date.

In its filing, the company argued that it has found no alternatives to ending the pension plans and replacing labor contracts. The airline said it "shares its employees' frustration" over having to take the step.