Rochester, NY (WBEN) - Union members of the Teamsters Local 118 in Rochester are scheduled to vote today on a contract offer from Wegmans.
The Union represents nearly 900 Wegmans employees in transportation and distribution.
The big issue in negotiations has been a retirement plan. Wegmans wants to move the workers out of their union retirement plan, which the supermarket chain says is underfunded, and in to the company's plan.
The dispute between the two sides grew even more contentious during Sunday's Buffalo Bills game, where Teamster members and supporters handed out leaflets and hired an airplane to fly above Ralph Wilson Stadium carrying the message "Wegmans Wants Buffalo To Lose."
Wegmans declined to comment on the issue Monday, but did release a statement in response to the Teamsters banner, saying they "propose to move our people out of this failing fund, into the same secure plan we have for all our other employees and pay $136 million dollars to the Fund in withdrawal liability to preserve the pension benefits our people have earned to date."
A phone call to the Teamsters Local 118 has not been returned.
You can read Wegmans' entire statement in response to the Teamsters' message to Bills fans below:
Rochester, NY - In response to the Teamsters Union recent leafleting at our stores and skywriting today over the Buffalo Bills game at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Wegmans wants to set out the straight facts about its contract proposals for the distribution employees in Rochester.
The union claims that we are destroying Rochester jobs, which is untrue. We are proud of the 885 jobs for the employees in this bargaining unit. That’s up from 800 jobs just 8 years ago in spite of the economic conditions and southern distribution center expansion at Wegmans.
The union also claims we’re eliminating pensions for our workers. Again, this is simply, not true. Our employees are currently enrolled in the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund (the Fund), a plan that is grossly underfunded. For each dollar of retirement benefits promised by the Fund it has only $.46 in assets, and they project it to decline over time to $.34. We propose to move our people out of this failing fund, into the same secure plan we have for all our other employees and pay $136 million dollars to the Fund in withdrawal liability to preserve the pension benefits our people have earned to date.
We believe our last, best and FINAL OFFER provides the most secure future for our people and their families.