NEW YORK, NY – Tops Markets has filed Chapter 11 on February 11 and is planning to reduce payments into both its UFCW and Teamsters union pension funds.
According to a Buffalo News, Tops is seeking court approval to reduce its monthly contributions to the pension funds by about $9 million per year, to $5.3 million. The company has assets of $977 million and liabilities of about $1.18 billion.
The 169 stores in New York State continue to show a profit although the company wants to radically reduce retirement funding with tricky financial hocus-pocus. With the company planning to reduce or eliminate pension payments for workers, a firestorm has erupted lead by UFCW and Teamsters. The request to reduce pension payments is particularly suspect with the company emerging from bankruptcy in six months.
Over 700 Tops warehouse employees are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 264. About 11,600 of Tops’ 14,000 employees are represented by UFCW Local One or other UFCW locals.
“Our members did not put this company in the financial position Tops now finds themselves in,” said Frank DeRiso, president of UFCW Local One, in a statement. “The pension obligation did not put Tops in the position they are in. I’m confident our members will not sit on the sidelines and will be very vocal, if and when Tops’ bankruptcy attorneys try to persuade the judge to accept only one third the needed pension contribution. Our members deserve the pension they earned and the pension Tops promised.”