United Denied Government Loan Guarantee

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The head of United Airlines' pilots union says they're extremely disappointed by a federal panel's decision to reject the carrier's request for a nearly $2 billion loan guarantee.

Paul Whiteford says they don't agree with the Air Transportation Stabilization Board's analysis of United's business plan. The three-member board says in a statement Wednesday that they believe the company's plan isn't financially sound. But Whiteford says union members continue to believe in the company and will help officials work to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

The Illinois-based carrier has said it will probably have to file for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection without the guarantee and loan.

There was no immediate comment from United on the board's decision.

Meantime, mechanics and aircraft cleaners for United Airlines will vote for a second time on wage cuts Thursday. A yes vote by the 13,000 workers could save the airline from filing for bankruptcy but many of them are angry about years of perceived mismanagement and foregone raises. They think the airline might fare better under the steering of a bankruptcy court judge.

However union leaders are pushing for ratification of the cuts, warning a bankruptcy judge could dissolve their contract and wipe out their negotiated gains.

The workers are being asked to accept pay cuts of 6 and 7 percent and give up four days' vacation pay.