"A number of years ago, United Airlines was the first to walk away from their pensions in bankruptcy court," Nance said. "That profoundly scared every pilot in the country with any sort of pension rights."
In a statement released by Continental Airlines, the company said this improper activity threatens pension assets and that "the law requires that Continental and other fiduciaries of the pension plan take appropriate steps to protect these assets."
Nance said it may clearly be manipulation, but manipulation that may work.
"This had to do with getting money right now from this fund that they were entitled to if that had been a real divorce, but doing so because they didn't have faith the fund was going to be around in the future," Nance said.