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Pension Meltdown48:22
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photoA Chicago bankruptcy court ruled this week that United Airlines can default on its pension plans that cover more than 120,000 employees. This is a big win for the troubled airline which may help it keep its planes in the air. But for those who work for United it could mean big benefit cuts and a much less comfortable retirement.

United isn't the only airline in trouble. It's following in the footsteps of US Airways, and Delta is hinting it may be going down the same path. Soon, America's big car makers may also be looking for pension relief.

Hear a discussion on the future of pension plans in corporate America.

Guests:

Nannette Byrne, senior writer for BusinessWeek

Richard Brownlee, professor at the Darden School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, expert on corporate pension and employee stock ownership plansTom Gigot, attorney at the Groom Law Group where he represents employers in negotiations with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Law School

Terry O'Rourke, 51-year-old electronics technician for United Airlines and member of the American Machinists Fraternal Association.

Jack Beatty, On Point analyst and senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly.

This program aired on May 13, 2005.

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