US Bankruptcy Judge Eugene Wedoff granted an emergency motion Friday in favor of union machinists and flight attendants of United Airlines who are trying to block United from eliminating their pension programs. The granting of the motion ended a procedural dispute by striking United's Thursday filing that had described improvements in the financial conditions of its pension plans and asserted that their elimination would not be as problematic as first anticipated.
The motion was strongly backed by Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), which argued in court that United's motion "gives potentially opposing parties no realistic opportunity to respond and serves no legitimate purpose." If United ultimately succeeds, government agency PBGC would have to pay out billions of dollars in retirement benefits to current and former airline employees if United's own pensions were terminated. AP has more.