Warehouse Workers Vote No on Company Plan to Eliminate Pension
(Rochester, N.Y.) Teamsters Local 118 members on Monday overwhelmingly rejected a Wegmans contract offer that would eliminate the pensions of more than 900 Rochester employees and endanger health care for their spouses. Local 118 will immediately request the participation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to settle the outstanding contract.
“Our members flatly said no to an offer that would immediately cut their compensation package, eradicate our pension and leave our spouses’ health care in jeopardy,” said Kevin McIntosh, Teamsters Local 118 business agent. By rejecting the contract, Teamsters Local 118 also authorized strike action.
“Stealing our pension and calling it a pay increase just does not pass the smell test. In fact, it wouldn’t pass second grade math,” McIntosh said of Wegmans’ reports that it is offering a pay increase of more than 18 percent when, in fact, it would eliminate the $4.82 members have voluntarily diverted from wages to their pension fund.
The company also refused to agree to contract language that would protect spouses under the contract. “Refusing to negotiate language that protects our spouses’ health care coverage creates fear among every single Wegmans Teamster family,” McIntosh said.
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 – in this case after workers protested the company’s proposal to eliminate their pension benefits. The charges will be investigated by Region 3 of the National Labor Relations Board in Buffalo, N.Y.
Teamsters Local 118, which represents more than 900 Wegmans warehouse workers, drivers and other skilled trades, has been in negotiations with Wegmans since March.