SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Shaw supermarket truck drivers represented by the Teamsters went on strike Monday, halting deliveries to Shaw’s and Star Market grocery stores in New England.
Drivers deliver essentials to more than 100 area supermarkets, said Joe Piccone, sales agent for Teamsters Local 340 in South Portland. Fruits, vegetables and refrigerated items are processed by a separate facility in Methuen, he said. The drivers are not on strike.
“Nobody wants to strike,” Piccone said of the 70 drivers and mechanics represented by the Teamsters who have been working without a contract since October. “These guys claim they have a good offer for us, but the lawyer who works for the company has resigned. “
Shaw said in a statement the parties will return to the bargaining table this week and the company remains “committed to reaching an agreement that recognizes the tremendous value our associates bring to the current and future success of our company.”
“We look forward to our employees returning to work this week,” a spokesperson said. “We are prepared for this labor dispute and will continue to serve our stores with our regular deliveries.”
Shaw’s parent company did not respond to requests for comment. Shaw’s and Star Market are owned by Albertsons Cos., One of the largest food and pharmaceutical retailers in the United States, which also owns Acme and Safeway, among other supermarket chains. According to the company’s latest annual report and grocery store websites, there are 21 Star Market and 55 Shaw’s in Massachusetts.
Workers strike at 205 Spencer Drive in Wells, Maine, at a Shaw distribution center. Grocery store managers at several Shaw and Star Market stores in Massachusetts said they were not allowed to speak to the press about whether the strike was affecting deliveries or what types of items could be delayed.
Piccone said the conflict was a slap in the face for drivers who worked hard during the pandemic to make sure people had plenty to eat. Society, meanwhile, has profited from the pandemic, he said.
“They kept the store shelves well stocked,” he said. “The pandemic profit these guys have made is completely insane.”
Anissa Gardizy of Globe staff contributed to the report.