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Wegmans blames Teamsters for anti-Buffalo banner at Bills game

Wegmans grocery officials blamed the Teamsters Union for an airplane banner that was flown over Ralph Wilson Stadium during Sunday’s Buffalo Bills football game. The banner claimed that the store chain wanted the Bills to lose.

Teamsters Local 118 is locked in a contractual dispute with the Rochester-based supermarket chain over the company’s plan to move its members out of the union’s retirement plan and into a company plan.

In addition to passing out union leaflets at the Bills game, the Teamsters were accused of using the airplane to fly over the stadium with a “Wegmans wants Buffalo to lose” banner. Teamsters officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The union claims that we are destroying Rochester jobs, which is untrue,” Wegmans said in a news release posted on its website.

The supermarket chain also denied what it said are union claims that Wegmans is eliminating pensions for its workers. Wegmans said its employees are currently enrolled in the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, which the company described as “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 ...” Wegmans said.

The company added that it believes its final offer to the union provides the most secure future for its members and their families.