Teamsters will not cross Stop & Shop picket lines

The Teamsters are siding with Stop and Shop striking workers.

Branches of the labor union, which represents warehouse workers and truck drivers for the grocery giant, has directed its members to honor picket lines while employees across New England continue a walk-out that began Thursday afternoon.

“More than 30,000 UFCW members have struck Stop and Shop, Teamster members do not cross their picket lines. Remind your friends and neighbors,” read a Facebook post from the Joint Council 10 hours after the strike began.

The Boston-based branch represents 45,000 members in 22 locals in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine. The union has nearly 700 warehouse workers and 250 drivers delivering food and other products to Stop and Shop stores.

In addition to food deliveries, truckers pick up waste from the supermarket’s stores.

The Teamsters warned the grocery chain in March that its members would support the supermarket’s union in any labor stoppage as contract negotiations continued.

The standoff between the grocer and its workers centers on the most recent contract offer, which includes hour cutbacks, elimination of Sunday premium pay, no raises over the next three years, increased automation and decreased health and pension benefits.

Stop and Shop employs more than 31,000 people throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The company operates 92 stores in Connecticut alone

Stores in numerous cities and towns have closed while the pharmacies in those locations remain open. The stores turned away shoppers in Hamden, Bridgeport, Greenwich and Branford after the employees walked out.

This is a developing story

Staff writer Pat Tomlinson and Clare Dignan contributed to this article.

Jordan.grice@hearstmediact.com