Shaw’s, Star Market truckers go on strike; company says it will resume

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Truck drivers for Shaw’s supermarkets represented by the Teamsters went on strike Monday, stopping shipments to Shaw’s and Star Market grocery stores in New England.

The drivers are responsible for delivering grocery store staples to more than 100 supermarkets across the region, said Joe Piccone, business agent for Teamsters Local 340 in South Portland. Fruit, vegetables and refrigerated items are handled by a separate facility in Methuen, Massachusetts, he said.

“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 are claiming that they have a great offer for us but the lawyer who works for the company quit.”

A spokesperson for Shaw’s said in a statement that the parties will return to the bargaining table this week, and that the company remains “committed to reaching an agreement that recognizes the tremendous value our associates provide to our Company’s current and future success.”

“We look forward to our employees returning to work this week,” the spokesperson said. “We are prepared for this labor dispute and will continue [to] serve our stores with our regularly scheduled deliveries.”

Shaw’s and Star Market stores are owned by Albertsons Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, which also owns Acme and Safeway, among other supermarket chains. According to the company’s latest annual report and the grocery stores’ websites, there are 21 Star Market and 55 Shaw’s stores in Massachusetts.

Workers are striking at 205 Spencer Dr. in Wells, Maine, at a Shaw’s distribution center. Grocery store managers at several Shaw’s and Star Market locations in Massachusetts said Monday they were not authorized to speak to the press about whether the strike is impacting deliveries or what types of items may be delayed.

The Shaw’s parent company did not respond to requests for comment.

Piccone said the dispute is a slap in the face of drivers who toiled away during the pandemic to ensure people had plenty to eat. The company, meanwhile, profited during the pandemic, he said.

“They kept the store shelves stocked,” he said. “The pandemic profit that these guys made is completely crazy.”

Anissa Gardizy of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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