Tops Markets took another step toward getting out of bankruptcy yesterday. Teamsters working in the warehouse supplying the company's markets agreed to take major hits in wages, benefits and pensions.
The members of Local 264 grudgingly approved the deal yesterday during a vote in the union hall in Cheektowaga.
The negotiated pension fund would have cost the stores $180 million over 20 years. Tops and former operators of the warehouse have set up a new $15 million fund.
The agreement did not sit well with all members.
"They took $23 million of our money, the union's money, our Teamsters' money. They spent it on daily operations and they are offering me less," said Eric Rosier.
Rosier has worked for 31 years in the warehouse, but says the new deal will only give him credit for 27 years. He thought he was nearing retirement. Plans have changed as Rosier now estimates he'll need to work another 10 years.
"My body is absolutely spent. I'm just bent and broken but I keep going to work every day. Get up. Go to work. Put food on tables in Western New York and I don't feel like I'm benefitted at all," Rosier said.
The company has agreed to take almost $4 million it has planned to pay executive bonuses and will use it toward $15 million going into a new pension fund carrying much lower pensions in the future. The plan still requires approval in federal bankruptcy court.