Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teamsters reject Wegmans' contract proposal

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 10:11 AM

This post has been updated with a correction.

Members of Teamsters Local 118 have again rejected a contract offer from Wegmans.

Approximately 900 Wegmans truck drivers and warehouse employees are represented by the union. On September 30, the union members rejected what Wegmans called its final offer. But company and union officials agreed to meet again on October 11, and on October 12 they had a proposal that union officials agreed to present to the membership.

A press release from Wegmans says that the company's offer included a $1,000 payment for full-time employees and pay increases totaling 18 percent over six years. Union members would also be moved into the Wegmans retirement plan. And Wegmans promised to pay millions of dollars into a union pension fund, which officials say would protect the benefits that employees are already entitled to.

The retirement proposal has been the sticking point. Union members have been reluctant to leave the defined benefit union pension plan for the Wegmans plan. The company's plan operates more like a 401(k) or IRA, where the company and employee contribute to it over time, and the employee draws the balance down in retirement.

The Wegmans release didn't indicate a next step. But the union's September 30 contract rejection also included a vote authorizing a strike.

“For months we have bargained in good faith, and frankly, we are frustrated and deeply disappointed, ” said Mike Cullen, Wegmans' vice president of distribution, in the press release. “But we have prepared for every possible outcome. Our stores will remain open for business without interruption.”

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