ALL OF MARYLAND CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR EXCEPT CINDY WALSH WILL WORK FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT!
Are your labor leaders shouting about this?
Below you'll see what looks pretty boring but please glance at all the articles. What I am showing is how private pensions shed decades ago should now be receiving lots of money from these corporations that are now earning billions of dollars each year. The bankruptcy laws placed most of private sector pensions into the Federal Agency below with the requirements that the corporation do its due diligence and the Federal government work in the public interest. What we see is public malfeasance by the government and a failure to collect needed revenue for these pension funds. Without justice, all of this is being left to implode with debt just as we see happening with public pensions.
I want to look at what has been allowed to happen these several years of Obama and neo-liberal control of government....it is worse than with George W Bush. These mergers
DO NOT MEET ANTITRUST LAW AND ARE ILLEGAL AND CAN BE MADE NULL AND VOID. MERGERS MUST BE APPROVED ACCORDING TO PUBLIC INTEREST.
So, as much as Obama and his administration simply want to say all of these global market deals are in the public interest----they are not. The same is happening in Maryland with O'Malley and Maryland Assembly saying all of these state contracts are creating jobs and revenue.....when they are not.
WE CAN REVERSE THESE POLICIES BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT LEGITIMATE. IF YOU KEEP ALLOWING YOUR POLS TO ACT ILLEGALLY AS IF THE US CONSTITUTION DOES NOT EXIST----IT WILL NOT EXIST AND YOU WILL NOT BE A CITIZEN.
Republicans are doing the same so the answer is not to vote for another party-----the answer is to shake these neo-liberals out of the people's democratic party!
Today, I look at private pensions lost during the corporate bankruptcy years that started with Reagan/Clinton as a way to eliminate all labor gains.
Regarding merger and acquisitions creating global corporations in the US:
THIS IS ONE EXAMPLE OF AN INDUSTRY AND HOW NEO-LIBERALS ARE ALLOWING RULE OF LAW TO BE IGNORED AT CONSUMER/CITIZEN EXPENSE:
I am listening to corporate NPR/APM explain the latest merger this time with airlines Delta and UK's Virgin. At the same time NPR/APM tells us that this merger is being passed by US antitrust laws and it is proper because it enhances quality and service for US consumers and it increases competition. OH, REALLY???????
CONSOLIDATION AND BECOMING A GLOBAL FORCE IS GOOD FOR THE CONSUMER? YOUR TAX MONEY IS GOING FOR THIS KIND OF PROGRAMMING.
We all know consolidation has been joined with price-fixing giving US consumers no choice but to pay whatever the market will bear. That is Wall Street for SOAKING CONSUMERS FOR ALL THEIR WORTH. This has nothing to do with antitrust.....free markets....are competition to lower prices. Instead, airlines have reconfigured their cabins so that coach passengers look like sardines paying unnecessary fees, no food and lots of delays and time schedule problems----you know----like Maryland Transit Authority. They do this because Americans have no choices and this shows that all of these mergers and acquisitions break US Commerce law protecting the public. Below you see these laws state these consolidations are limited as to whether they BENEFIT THE CONSUMER. These deals are illegal. Obama and your neo-liberal pols ran in 2008 on the platform of holding corporations accountable and stopping the merger and acquisitions and then they ignored this.
THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY, IT IS NOT LEGAL, AND YOUR INCUMBENT IN MARYLAND IS PART OF THIS BECAUSE IT INVOLVES ALL OF MARYLAND'S ECONOMY.
I want to make another point with this Delta/UK Virgin merger deal. Delta, as with all US airlines all went through bankruptcy just to shed labor union contracts and wages and benefits. All have come out of these bankruptcies earning billions of dollars in profit while labor benefits sit in a Federal agency created just to hold these legally binding contracts. Health care benefits that include strong quality care are now being handled in this Federal agency as though these plans were the equivalent of Medicaid. Taxpayers are footing the costs of these corporation's health care contracts while they grow to earn billions in profits. This is good they say because shareholder wealth is soaring.
The answer to all of these legal labor contracts being shed and creating cost for the taxpayers is to provide the lowest quality and access of health care to these millions of US citizens.
THE REAL COST BELONGS BACK WITH THESE CORPORATIONS THAT CAN NOW EASILY MAKE THEIR CONTRACT COMMITMENTS.
Antitrust law in America:
United States antitrust law is a collection of federal and state government laws, which regulates the conduct and organization of business corporations, generally to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers. The main statutes are the Sherman Act 1890, the Clayton Act 1914 and the Federal Trade Commission Act 1914. These Acts, first, restrict the formation of cartels and prohibit other collusive practices regarded as being in restraint of trade. Second, they restrict the mergers and acquisitions of organizations which could substantially lessen competition. Third, they prohibit the creation of a monopoly and the abuse of monopoly power.
The Federal Trade Commission, the US Department of Justice, state governments and private parties who are sufficiently affected may all bring actions in the courts to enforce the antitrust laws. The scope of antitrust laws, and the degree they should interfere in business freedom, or protect smaller businesses, communities and consumers, are strongly debated. One view, mostly closely associated with the "Chicago School of economics" suggests that antitrust laws should focus solely on the benefits to consumers and overall efficiency, while a broad range of legal and economic theory sees the role of antitrust laws as also controlling economic power in the public interest.
Now, all of the soaring fuel costs were created by Wall Street market manipulation and if we had Rule of Law reinstated all of these gains would have been stopped and no soaring fuel prices would have occurred. Remember, Wall Street used market manipulation of fuel on and off for a decade having the US consumer as an ATM machine anytime oil corporations around the world had market slowdowns. This is not free market and it is illegal. Who owns all these oil corporations? Bush/Cheney and it is these same people who are the shareholders of these now global corporations. So, you gut the profits of a healthy corporation to restructure it for maximized profit----the Bains Capital approach.
Labor contracts are just like any business contract. Every time your neo-liberal says the state or city must honor its contracts it signs with businesses-----this is what makes Rule of Law and Equal Protection. It is also what makes antitrust laws work as it makes no sense to have businesses able to gut another simply to eliminate a competitor. So, Bush/Cheney wanted to consolidate the airline industry into global corporations and they allowed their oil corporations to manipulate the markets to create the environment to do this.
THIS IS ALL ILLEGAL AS IT FAILS IN ALL ASPECTS OF RULE OF LAW, EQUAL PROTECTION, AND ANTITRUST.
When your neo-liberal says -----the people in power make the laws-----that does not allow them to decide the US Constitution and Rule of Law is NULL AND VOID. They cannot selectively enforce the laws they want.
STOP ALLOWING NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS TO OPENLY SUSPEND RULE OF LAW AND IGNORE THE US CONSTITUTION. LABOR UNIONS SHOULD BE TAKING ALL OF THIS TO COURT.
We do not say-----well, the courts are fixed because we want all of this on record for when they are not fixed. Remember,
WHEN A GOVERNMENT SUSPENDS RULE OF LAW IT SUSPENDS STATUTES OF LIMITATION!
Below, you see Delta was competing with smaller airlines and the economy was running as it should. Costs were contained by competition and lots of businesses were in the mix. Then, the illegal activity of the fuel market took down the smaller businesses, allowed larger businesses to use fuel costs as an excuse to enter bankruptcy to shed labor contracts and amazingly using fuel as hostile takeover is now past.
Delta Air Lines files for bankruptcy
No. 3 airline hit by fuel costs, low-fare competitors; No. 4 Northwest follows it into bankruptcy.
September 15, 2005: 9:55 AM EDT
By Chris Isidore, CNN/Money senior writer
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Delta Air Lines filed for bankruptcy, making it one of two major carriers to seek protection from creditors Wednesday.
Delta (Research), the nation's third-biggest airline, has been hurt by the recent spike in jet fuel prices and growing competition from lower-cost, low-fare carriers. Less than half an hour after Delta's filing, Northwest Airlines also filed for protection from creditors.
Delta and Northwest followed United Airlines (Research) and US Airways (Research) into bankruptcy. United, the No. 2 airline, has been in bankruptcy court for almost three years. US Airways has been in bankruptcy court twice since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that shook the airline industry.
With those four major airlines and some smaller ones already in bankruptcy, nearly half of the industry's capacity is on carriers operating under bankruptcy court oversight.
Delta said it expects to keep flying while it seeks to cut costs and reorganize, so the immediate impact on flyers should be minimal. It is also expected to keep its frequent flyer program intact. But some smaller cities now served exclusively or primarily by Delta could be hurt as the airline trims its operations going forward.
The Atlanta-based airline, which has not had a profitable quarter since 2000, filed under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws. In Chapter 11, a company is protected from creditors while it tries to reorganize.
Analysts said this year's spike in jet fuel prices forced Delta's bankruptcy filing.
"Hurricane Katrina was probably the last straw," Ray Neidl, analyst with Calyon Securities, said shortly before the widely expected bankruptcy filing. "Nobody could have predicted $60-, $70-a-barrel oil. Things just developed that were uncontrollable factors."
But Delta's problems predate not only the hurricane, but the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The company has lost some $6.1 billion since the start of 2001 from its airline operations, according to First Call, which tracks corporate earnings.
Some analysts said that Delta waited longer than some of its rivals to trim costs. It did not win cost concessions from its pilots union until last October, after paying them the highest wages in the industry under a contract reached months before the Sept. 11 attacks.
"They are another example of a company that started out in a relatively stronger financial position than their peers, and they felt they were in better position to survive a shakeout," said Philip Baggaley, Standard & Poor's senior airline credit analyst. "They didn't pursue cost-cutting as aggressively as they would have if they were heading toward bankruptcy early in the (industry's) downturn."
The airline has nearly 60,000 employees and flies about 340,000 people daily in its mainline operations, which includes Delta, the Delta Shuttle and Song, its attempt to compete in the growing low-fare market.
Another problem for Delta is that it has less international traffic than the nation's other big carriers. That means it faces competition on more routes from low-fare carriers such as AirTran, JetBlue and Southwest than some of its rivals.
Scramble to cut costs
Delta had been scrambling through the strong summer travel season to cut costs and raise cash.
Last week it completed the sale one of its feeder airlines, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, for $425 million. It also announced it was cutting flight capacity at its Cincinnati hub by 26 percent.
But these and other cost-cutting moves made over the last year could not stem losses, which are forecast by analysts to extend into 2007. The company has not reported a quarterly profit, excluding special items, since 2000.
Delta flirted with a bankruptcy filing in October 2004, before getting the Air Line Pilots Association to agree to cut wages by about a third � a move that saved about $1 billion a year. The airline also cut some 5,000 jobs in the year ending in June, aside from the sale of Atlantic Southeast.
Its second quarter payroll costs were 18 percent below a year earlier, as the company spent nearly $300 million less on salary and benefits.
But soaring fuel costs caused ongoing losses. Delta's cost per gallon soared 50 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, and has kept climbing.
The increased costs came as Delta and other carriers found it difficult to win higher fares from passengers, who have more options with the growth of low-fare rivals.
The average fare Delta received from passengers fell 1 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, even as the proportion of empty seats on Delta jets fell.
The final cash crisis came when the bank that was processing the airline's Visa and MasterCard ticket purchases started holding back money as protection in case of a bankruptcy filing. The airline warned in August that such a move by the bank could cost $650 million by the end of October, straining its already thin cash reserves.
Why did a US airline and US regulators allow a merger that gave a majority ownership to another country? 49% for Delta to Virgin's 51%? Because that takes this US airline out of US corporate oversight and on to UK corporate oversight and the UK has complete deregulation and corporate tax protection. So, a major US business was handed to a global corporation that will not follow US laws. Is that consumer friendly and does that meet US labor protections?
NOT AT ALL. SO, THIS MERGER SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED.
The reasoning is that the London-New York commuters will see a benefit while the rest of the US will not. Remember, the Federal government cannot simply ignore Rule of Law and allow all of this and neither can the courts. It doesn't matter who is in charge-----EQUAL PROTECTION AND RULE OF LAW DOES NOT CHANGE. This means all of this can be reversed when Rule of Law is reinstated.
All Things Travel: Delta-Virgin Atlantic Merger Could Mean Changes For Boston Flights
By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor July 8, 2013 5:29 PM
BOSTON (CBS) — Sir Richard Branson, the world’s best-known man in aviation, now has a new partner.
Delta Air Lines now owns 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic Airways and that means more changes will most likely happen on Boston’s number one international route.
British Airways, Delta and Virgin offer six daily flights from Logan to London’s Heathrow Airport this summer.
British Airways flies more than 50-percent of passengers flying to the UK. The flights are important for both business and leisure travelers. Great Britain also sends more visitors to New England than any other European country.
Under the new arrangement, the new code-sharing agreement will allow Delta to sell seats on Virgin flights by the end of the year. Virgin passengers will be able to connect to Delta flights in the U.S.
Delta passengers will be able to earn miles on Virgin Atlantic flights.
Delta operates in Terminal A at Logan Airport while Virgin uses Terminal E. Whether Virgin will transfer its operations to Terminal A remains to be seen. Delta is a member of The Sky Team Alliance.
The agreement gives Delta the chance to expand at Heathrow Airport where more gates will now be available. That is especially important for its New York operations; Delta is also a partner with Air France and their flights to Paris.
Next year the merger between American and US Airways should be completed. At that time, US Airways will move from the Star Alliance to the Oneworld Alliance that includes British Airways. This summer American dropped their flights to London and BA increased its service.
Alliances and code-sharing agreements are important for frequent business travelers that like to accrue mileage points for family leisure travel.
Virgin America, which is a separate company, will continue to fly routes from Boston to the West Coast. The airline was the first to offer Wifi on its flights.
Delta has been upgrading its Business Class service that now includes flat beds. Virgin features an Upper Class product. Both airlines have been increasing their on-board entertainment options.
Virgin Atlantic has its U.S. headquarters in Norwalk Connecticut.
Virgin America is simply a global airline corporations taking spaces at all airports that the smaller airlines used to have. This is what antitrust laws are supposed to stop. This consolidation is leading to less choice which allows price-fixing and is all anti-consumer no matter how many times corporate NPR/APM tells you this is all about the US consumer.
ALL IT TAKES IS A PRESIDENT WHO REINSTATES RULE OF LAW AND APPOINTS A HEAD OF THE TRADE COMMISSION. HILLARY, BIDEN, CUOMO, AND O'MALLEY ARE READY TO KEEP THE GLOBAL GRAVY TRAIN RUNNING. MAYBE BERNIE SANDERS WILL NOT.
I KNOW CINDY WALSH FOR GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND WILL BE TAKING THESE ISSUES TO COURT! DO YOU HEAR YOUR LABOR LEADERS TAKING THIS TO COURT?
Why the American Merger Deal Could Make Virgin America a Big Winner
BY Ted Reed | 03/05/14 - 10:35 AM EST
DALLAS (TheStreet) -- Six-year-old Virgin America saw a big opportunity when the Justice Department required divestitures from American (AAL_) and US Airways in return for allowing them to merge.
Virgin America already has won the right to operate six daily round trips at New York's LaGuardia Airport and four at Washington Reagan National, using slots that American and US Airways were required to divest.
On Wednesday, the San Francisco-based carrier said it will seek two gates at Dallas Love Field that American was required to divest. Delta (DAL_) and Southwest (LUV_) are also seeking the two Love Field gates. Southwest already occupies 16 of the 20 Love Field gates.
Virgin America said that if it is awarded the gates, it would begin new service from Dallas to LaGuardia and National. Arguably, that represents a convincing case to the Justice Department that consumers would derive maximum benefit from the merger.
In particular, Love Field-National service by a new low-fare entrant would provide an alternative to American service on what became hub-to-hub flying in the merger, when Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Washington National became hubs for the same airline. Hub-to-hub flying is typically an area where ticket prices are high.
Like LaGuardia and National, Love Field is a desirable and constricted close-in airport. It is just six miles from downtown Dallas. In October, flight restrictions imposed in 1979 will be lifted. Southwest has already said it would add flights to LaGuardia and National. Delta has said it will add LaGuardia and LAX if it gets the two gates.
Some observers questioned whether the Justice Department got all it could when it challenged the American/US Airways merger in August. The settlement was announced in November, two weeks before the parties were scheduled to go to trial.
Launched in 2007, Virgin America has built a niche as a hip, technologically advanced West Coast carrier. After moving last year to slow growth, it has started to show profits: In the third quarter, it produced net income of $37.5 million and an operating margin of 11.5%. It is said to be preparing for a public offering.
Virgin said Wednesday that if it wins the gates it would serve Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as LaGuardia and National. It already serves Los Angeles and San Francisco from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, but that service would end in October and Virgin would limit its Dallas operations to Love Field.
In a press release that seemed to summarize the case it will make to the Justice Department, Virgin America said it "would be the only carrier at Love Field to offer guests three classes of service, Wi-Fi, in-seat power outlets and touch-screen seatback entertainment (including live TV) on every flight." It said it "operates a new fleet of Airbus A320-Family aircraft, which are significantly quieter than the commercial aircraft currently in use at Love Field."
Also, Virgin said it "would provide vigorous competition in a market where at present one carrier controls 80% of the gates."
As part of the press release, Virgin CEO David Cush declared: "As the last major airline launched in the U.S., we've seen firsthand what happens when new entrant airlines have a chance to come into markets where a few big airlines dominate -- service improves and fares drop.
"The opening of access to these slot-constrained and gate-constrained airports is an infrequent occurrence at best, and we hope to have the opportunity to expand our network and continue doing what we do best: deliver the best product in the domestic skies, and inject sorely needed fare competition in business markets where it is currently lacking," Cush said.
When Virgin America entered the San Francisco-Chicago market in 2011 and the San Francisco-Dallas market in 2010, fares dropped in each market at the time by more than 30%, the carrier said. After Virgin America entered Newark Liberty International Airport in April 2013, fares to San Francisco and Los Angeles dropped by more than a third, the carrier said. Newark, San Francisco and Los Angeles are all United (UAL_) hubs.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
Eastern to let federal agency pay out retirement benefits
September 19, 1990|By New York Times News Service
Eastern Airlines cleared a critical hurdle yesterday in its attempt to reorganize under bankruptcy laws by reaching an agreement to have Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., a federal agency that oversees pension plans, take over the payment of the retirement benefits of Eastern employees.
But to satisfy the agency's concerns, Continental Holdings Inc., the parent of Eastern Airlines, must secure the payments with its assets -- a liability that some officials said could total more than $500 million-plus interest because of a shortage in the financing of the pension plan.
This could strain Continental's finances when the carrier is making progress toward building itself into one of the nation's leading carriers.
Continental's liability could beless, however, depending upon how much the assets in the pension fund earn from interest on investments.
Martin R. Shugrue Jr., Eastern's court-appointed trustee, called the settlement yesterday a "major milestone on the way to the reorganization of Eastern under Chapter 11."
Since he took over the airline in April, Mr. Shugrue has struggled to win back customers by offering low fares and promotions to stem the carrier's losses.
The agreement is good news for the 51,000 former and current Eastern workers, whose pensions are now guaranteed in full.
James B. Lockhart, the executive director of the federal pension agency, said yesterday that the settlement would "protect retirees and the insurance program from one of the largest potential losses we faced -- almost three-quarters of a billion dollars before today's agreement."
As you see below this Federal agency that supposedly works in the interests of American citizens really has allowed these pensioners to lose all of the value of their pensions. I read a few years ago that individuals having their pensions in this agency were receiving Medicaid-level care. We see as well, as with public sector pensions.....these funds were shifted into the Wall Street stock market just at the time the market crashed. Now, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has almost $300 billion in pension liabilities and has been imploded with debt just as public pensions and 401Ks were.
None of this meets the terms of labor contracts, terms of these bankruptcy agreements, and we can be sure that corporate contributions from airlines in this case are not happening.
ALL OF THIS IS ILLEGAL!
The Affordable Care Act is designed to send all of these plans to private state health systems where all Federal responsibility for public health, from this pension benefit guaranty corporation to Medicare will end and all of what was strong, well-funded health plans will become Medicaid for All. The coming economic crash will make the level of debt for these pensions unsustainable----WHICH IS THE POINT.
ALL POLITICIANS/LABOR AND JUSTICE LEADERS KNOW THIS AND ALL MARYLAND POLS ARE NEO-LIBERALS WORKING FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT. THEY ARE PROMOTING THESE CONDITIONS. STOP ALLOWING A NEO-LIBERAL DNC CHOOSE YOUR CANDIDATES. RUN LABOR AND JUSTICE IN ALL PRIMARIES.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
'The PBGC regularly updates its investment strategy. In 2004, it chose to invest heavily in bonds. Under new leadership, the agency in 2008 shifted a substantial portion of its assets into stocks. Because of the market decline, PBGC's equity investments lost 23% during the year ending September 30, 2008.'
According to commentator Nicholas Brannick, "Despite the appearance of protection for the PBGC's interest in the event of termination, the Bankruptcy Code frequently strips the PBGC of the protection provided under ERISA. Under ERISA, termination liability may arise on the date of termination, but the lien that protects the PBGC's interest in that liability must be perfected [to be protected in bankruptcy]". Nicholas Brannick, Note: At the Crossroads of Three Codes: How Employers Are Using ERISA, the Tax Code, and Bankruptcy to Evade Their Pension Obligations, 65 Ohio St. L.J. 1577, 1606 (2004). The retention of title as a security interest, the creation of lien, or any other direct or indirect mode of disposing of or parting with property or an interest in property is a "transfer" for purposes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (see 11 U.S.C. § 101(54)). Some transfers may be avoidable by the bankruptcy trustee under various Code provisions. Further, under ordinary principles of bankruptcy law, a lien or other security interest that is unperfected (i.e., a lien that is not valid against parties other than the debtor) at the time of case commencement is generally unenforceable against a bankruptcy trustee. Once the bankruptcy case has commenced, the law generally stays any act to attempt to perfect a lien that was not perfected prior to case commencement (see 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(4)). Thus, the PBGC with a lien that has not yet been perfected at the time of case commencement may find itself in the same position as the general unsecured creditors.
No insurance for defined contribution plans
One reason Congress enacted ERISA was "to prevent the 'great personal tragedy' suffered by employees whose vested benefits are not paid when pension plans are terminated." When a defined benefit plan is properly funded by its sponsor, its assets should be approximately equal to its liability, and any shortfall (including benefit improvements) should be amortized in a relatively short period of time. Before ERISA, employers and willing unions could agree to increase benefits with little thought to how to pay for them. A classic case of the unfortunate consequences of an underfunded pension plan is the 1963 shutdown of Studebaker automobile operations in South Bend, Indiana, in which 4,500 workers lost 85% of their vested benefits. One of ERISA's stated intentions was to minimize underfunding in defined benefit plans.
Defined contribution plans — by contrast and by definition — are always "fully funded." Thus Congress saw no need to provide insurance protection for participants in defined contribution plans. The Enron scandal in 2001 demonstrated one potential problem with defined contribution plans: the company had strongly encouraged its workers to invest their 401(k) plans in their employer itself, violating primary investment guidelines about diversification. When Enron went bankrupt, many workers lost not just their jobs but also most of the value of their retirement savings. Congress inserted trust law fiduciary liability upon employers who did not prudently diversify plan assets to avoid the chance of large losses inside Section 404 of ERISA, but it is unclear whether such fiduciary liability applies to trustees of plans in which participants direct the investment of their own accounts.