Teamsters reject Wegmans contract

Rochester, N.Y. - Teamsters Local 118 members on Monday overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer from Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. that would eliminate the pensions of more than 900 Rochester employees and not provide 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.

Wegmans reports that it is offering a pay increase of more than 18%, although the contract 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. 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.