Union says it is monitoring Tops' finances amid report of allegedly eyeing bankruptcy

Tops Friendly Services (WHAM photo)

The union president that represents employees of Tops Friendly Markets said that they have been monitoring the finances of the grocery chain, following a report from Bloomberg that the franchise was allegedly filing for bankruptcy.

Frank DeRiso, president of UFCW Local One, which represents 12,000 Tops workers, said in a statement:

Over the past several months we have been meeting with Financial Advisors hired by our International Union to continually monitor The finances of Tops Markets. As reported earlier the Company has hired Evercore (a global independent private investment firm) to help them restructure their enormous debt.
Since mid January, UFCW Local One has been consulted by our legal team consisting of health care, pension and 401K attorneys and an attorney that specializes in restructuring and bankruptcy filings. We have additional meetings set up this coming week to discuss more strategies to hit this situation head on.
Currently Tops Markets is paying all contractual obligations including health, pension and 401K contributions. The contract for UFCW Local One’s 12,000 Tops members is in full effect. We are monitoring this situation daily and will keep members informed of new developments.

The Bloomberg report said Saturday that the owner of Tops Friendly Markets could potentially seek court protection from creditors as soon as this month, according to people familiar with the situation.

The Tops franchise came out of Niagara Falls by Ferrante Castellani in the 1920s, according to the company's website. Castellani opened his first grocery store there and following generations created the Tops chain in 1962.

The company is currently headquartered in Williamsville, in Erie County, and has store locations in New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania.

Last November, Tops began offering online shopping and same-day home delivery services in its Syracuse-area locations and around the Northeast.

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