UAL Pension Pin To Be Pulled

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The government agency that oversees pension plans (and picks up the pieces when they fail) wants to immediately pull the pin on the plan covering retired United Air Lines pilots. UAL and the pilots had recognized the inevitable and agreed to wind up the pension plan in May. But the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) says that will cost it an extra $140 million, an "unreasonable loss" that gives it the ability to involuntarily terminate the plan. Some retired pilots will see their pension incomes drop by two-thirds when the PBGC takes over. The Air Line Pilots Association is furious at the news, calling the move "deplorable" and "duplicitous." But Bradley Belt, the executive director of the PBGC, said the organization can't afford to carry the existing benefits until May because it has some pretty serious problems of its own. "With a $23 billion deficit and more than 1 million workers and retirees directly dependent on us for their pension benefits, the PBGC must be vigilant in guarding against unnecessary losses," Belt told The Washington Post.