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Popular question about Wegmans and Unions answered

Commonly asked question: Why doesn't Wegmans drop its fight if union employees want to stay in an underfunded pension plan?

Wegmans responded in a statement:

The answer is twofold.

 First, we are a company whose success has been built around the notion that we put our people first, and part of that is helping them to have a secure retirement.   The Teamsters pension plans (there are a number of them) are in trouble here in New York and elsewhere around the country.  Staying in this plan is not the right thing for our people.  By the Funds own calculations, they do not have enough assets to pay for the benefits theyve promised, and they project things to get even worse.  They have reduced retirement benefits twice already.

Second, this Fund, and others like it, are multi-employer plans.  Wegmans exposure grows with every withdrawal by, or bankruptcy of (Empire Beef and P&C Foods), other contributing employers.  It also grows as the gap between the number of people (active union members) contributing to the plan decreases, and the number of retirees increases.  The NYS Fund projects that active participants will continue to decline.  Our estimated current withdrawal liability today over $130M could increase dramatically for reasons that we have no control over.  Our company is not prepared to assume risk like that.   

Wegmans and the Teamsters Union, which represents more than 900 Wegmans warehouse workers, drivers, and other skilled trades, have been in contract negotiations since March. 

Wegmans faces unfair labor practice charges for violations of federal labor law that protect workers rights, and prevent the company from unilaterally changing working conditions. The charges will be investigated by Region 3 of the National Labor Relations Board in Buffalo, N.Y.

 
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