BOSTON (AP/CBS) — Truck drivers and mechanics 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 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.READ MORE: Mikayla Miller Vigil In Hopkinton Expected To Draw Large Crowd
“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,” he said. The workers are still waiting for the revised offer from the company, he said.
Shaw’s, which is owned by Idaho-based Albertson’s Companies, issued a statement saying the supermarket chain bargained in good faith and looks forward to returning to negotiations later this week.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
The company said it has participated in about 20 sessions, including some with a federal mediator, since last August. The company said its current proposal was never brought to the membership for a vote.
“Our customers can be assured that throughout this process, we will continue to provide the unmatched customer service they have come to expect from Shaw’s,” spokesperson for Shaw’s said in a statement. “We are prepared for this labor dispute and will continue serve our stores with our regularly scheduled deliveries.”
Piccone said the lack of a contract 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.”MORE NEWS: NASA Rocket Launch Friday Night Should Be Visible Along East Coast
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)