Shaw’s, Star Market truck drivers who deliver to Massachusetts stores go on strike

Truckers who crisscross New England delivering food and other essentials to more than 100 Shaw’s and Star Market locations have gone on strike as they fight for a new contract.

The 65 truck drivers and mechanics walking out on strike Monday morning will cause “an immediate effect” on 122 supermarkets across the region, said Business Agent Joseph Piccone of Teamsters Local Union 340 in South Portland, Maine.

“These guys work around the clock — delivering dry goods, cereal, other supplies to keep the store’s shelves stocked — but today they’re not,” Piccone said.

“The stores will be lacking,” he added. “It will be an immediate effect.”

Negotiations for a contract have been ongoing since August, but the company has not brought forward a fair contract offer, Piccone said.

The two sides have met more than 20 times since the contract expired. The company has said it has a counterproposal but are unable to present it because they currently don’t have anyone with the authority to negotiate, according to the business agent with Teamsters.

“We want to sit down at the table with them, and see what their offer is,” Piccone said. “By the end of the day today, they’ll be asking to meet sooner rather than later.”

A spokesperson for Shaw’s on Monday afternoon said the company has been “bargaining in good faith” with Teamsters Local 340 on a new contract.

The company added that it is “pleased to be returning to the bargaining table this week.”

“We remain committed to reaching an agreement that recognizes the tremendous value our associates provide to our Company’s current and future success,” the Shaw’s spokesperson said. “Our current proposal is consistent with our outlined goal, setting forth industry leading contract improvements, yet it was not presented to the membership for a vote for approval. We look forward to our employees returning to work this week.”

Piccone noted that Shaw’s and Star Market are a wholly owned subsidiary of Albertsons Companies, which is currently ranked in the top 55 of Fortune 500 companies. The company has turned a major profit during the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

“These guys are always giving their all,” Piccone said. “And this company has the ability to pay them.”

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