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Tops scraps controversial plan to award top five executives with $3.6 million in bonuses

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB-TV) - Tops Markets is scrapping a controversial plan to award $3.6 million in bonuses to top executives. 

The news comes as the grocery store chain may be headed to a showdown with its labor unions over retirement money. 

Tops filed for bankruptcy in February. In the Chapter Eleven filing, the company set up a "Key Employee Incentive Program", allowing the company's 5 top executives to receive bonuses of up to $3.6 million if they improve the stores' performance after they eventually emerge from bankruptcy.

At the same time, Teamaters at the warehouse in Lancaster learned as much as $20 million that had been diverted from their pay raises to a retirement fund, had been spent by Tops to cover their operations.

Those union members gathered union offices in Cheektowaga last week to learn their retirement plan will be separate from a Teamsters pension fund.

Tops is also making plans to close some stores that don't fit into their long term plans, eiither because they are losing money or their locations put them at a disadvantage in the supply line.

On the day after those Teamsters stormed out of their meeting, Tops submitted documents to the bankruptcy court, calling off the executive bonuses.

Howrever, another incentive plan for the purpose of retaining key store managers and mid-level executives is not affected, and a tentative settlement calls for the Teamsters to withdraw their opposition to that retention plan.


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