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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 9/11 Pilot's Widow Denied Pension by United Airlines
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Saturday, June 04, 2005

9/11 Pilot's Widow Denied Pension by United Airlines

this says it all... read it and weep... (this letter was originally posted on a privately-run united airlines employee group site...)

To Congressman Miller;

My name is Ellen Saracini. My husband Captain Victor J. Saracini was the captain of United Flight 175 that struck the south tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 at 9:03 am. While no one could have imagined the events of that infamous day, neither could Victor have imagined what would be happening right now to his wife and his two daughters.

(continue reading here)

I am writing this letter to voice to you what is being taken away from Victor and his family. If you knew my husband you would know he was a true family man who made sure his family's future was provided for. I am currently receiving the spousal portion of Victor's pension, which is 50% of what he thought would be there for his family. After United took away our ESOP stock, this pension is how I am supporting our two daughters and myself.

I was given a choice to sue the Airlines, Port Authority, and others, or join in the victims' compensation fund set up by the government. I pledged I would not sue and proceeded with the fund; after all, this is the company Victor was so proud to work for and the same company of his United brothers and sisters. Every bit of preparation that Victor and I worked for was used against the claim. Life insurance was deducted. My full pension was deducted from the award. Now I will have a double jeopardy as I will again loose my pension with no recourse on either side.

During the last three years, my girls and I have been impacted more than words can explain. One daughter is in counseling, the other won't talk, and both have medical problems stemming from the loss of their father while at the same time maintaining excellent grades in honors and AP courses. I have stood up and been an advocate on the steering committee of the terrorist's lawsuits, gaining information to aid our Government. I have worked with APSA to defend our cockpits. I am fundraising for the Garden of Reflection, a memorial park dedicated to all we lost on that day. I have started a flight scholarship in Victors name to continue his legacy in flight. We are doing everything that can be done to make it better for all.

I can't help but to ask myself at what point are companies allowed to take away so much from the lives of dedicated employees and their families? At what point does our Government step in and stop atrocities such as this before they are allowed to irrevocably change the lives of so many? I refuse to believe that this is the only solution that can be reached.The PBGC's decision to allow United Airlines to end their pensions is just wrong. If this monumental verdict moves forward, I will be faced with many hardships. Victor was a proud United pilot, husband, father and friend who fought a war with terrorists. Never would he have imagined that he would have to fight for his family's well-being with the very company he so proudly spread his wings.


Ellen Saracini

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