A Shaw’s supermarket in Ellsworth in March 2010. A group of Shaw’s drivers and mechanics in Wells ratified their first union contract on Oct. 24, 2018. Credit: Bridget Brown

A group of Shaw’s drivers and mechanics who voted to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union last year finally ratified their first contract on Oct. 24, the Teamsters Local 340 branch said over the weekend.

The 79 union members work for Shaw’s and deliver product to its grocery stores throughout New England.

“Our negotiating team … proved to be knowledgeable, courageous and united. They should be proud of their work,” said Brett Miller, president of Local 340. “They endured months of anti-union tactics and pressure, but never gave in.”

The workers negotiated a two-year contract that gives them a grievance process, seniority rights in regard to bidding routes and work schedules, and guaranteed pay increases in each year of the contract.

The group had not received any wage increases during the past four years.

The campaign at Shaw’s originally began in 2015 when the workers attempted to organize two Shaw’s locations in Massachusetts and Maine, according to a statement by Local 340. After more than two years of legal maneuvering at the National Labor Relations Board, an election was scheduled for the drivers and mechanics at the Shaw’s Maine location, and the group voted to join Local 340 in March 2017.

The union said Shaw’s attempted legal delays, but they ended in January 2018, when the NLRB ruled that the unit was valid. Bargaining began in April 2018.

This is not the first effort by Shaw’s to keep the union out. In February 2015, Shaw’s fought an effort by the Teamsters union to organize the chain’s pharmacists at 16 stores in Maine, arguing its pharmacy managers were supervisors and therefore are not able to join a labor union. The pharmacists voted to become members of Teamsters Local 340 in May 2015.

Shaw’s Supermarkets is Maine’s 11th-largest private employer, with between 2,000 and 2,500 workers, according to the Maine Department of Labor. In 2013, it was acquired by AB Acquisition, also the parent company of supermarket chains Albertson’s and Safeway. Shaw’s operates 154 stores throughout New England.

Teamsters Local 340 represents 4,000 workers in Maine.