Response from Albertsons
... We are proud to be a unionized Company that takes care of our employees... A key point of focus in our negotiations is the funding of multiemployer defined benefit pension plans. The two Pension Plans to which we currently contribute are extremely costly relative to our competition. Yet, despite the very high cost, like many multiemployer pension plans across the country, these Plans are still scheduled to go insolvent in the future.
... [O]ur main goals in these negotiations are (1) position our Company to compete moving forward in this rapidly changing market, while (2) simultaneously rewarding our employees with an excellent overall wage and benefit package. To accomplish these goals, we have proposed (a) substantial annual wage increases for our employees; and (b) on pension benefits, significantly increasing our contributions from the current level. Under our proposal, these substantial increases will be used to establish a “top up plan” to pay for past service benefits that exceed the PBGC maximum insurance amount and then establish a new defined benefit pension plan for future service benefits... The key sticking point in negotiations is the insistence by the UFCW locals that the Company pay pension benefits the PBGC is obligated to pay, but does not pay, if the PBGC becomes insolvent. These are difficult issues, but we are committed to remain at the bargaining table to work through our challenges and reach an agreement that rewards our tremendous employees.