Rochester, N.Y. - Rising tensions between the local Teamsters Union and Wegman’s may have been to blame for a distraction that occurred in the skies over Ralph Wilson Stadium.
A plane flew over Ralph Wilson Stadium; behind it a sign read "Wegman's Wants Buffalo to Lose." Wegaman's claims that Teamsters hired the pilot to fly the plane over the stadium to embarass Wegman's.
A call to Teamsters Local 118 was not returned.
Below is a statement made by spokeswoman Jo Natale:
"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."