Tense Moments at the Shaw's Picket Line at C & S Truck Depot in Hatfield

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UFCW Local 1459 union rep. Jim Gander faces off with Kenworth truck exiting C&S truck depot.
UFCW Local 1459 union rep. Jim Gander faces off with Kenworth truck exiting C&S truck depot.

According to Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO president and picket captain, Rick Brown, the Shaw's supermarket company has outsourced its warehouse operations to C&S Wholesale Grocers based out of Keene, NH. "We're out here to send a message—not only to C&S, the community, and Shaw's—but also to the members that we will follow the struck work wherever it goes," President Brown said.

There were some tense moments on the line with several man vs. vehicle confrontations. One sedan exiting the plant charged through the picketers, barely slowing down. One "scab" trucker raced up to the line but came to a fast halt as picketers thwarted him. The strike supporters hurled insults at the driver, who responded with a 30 second blast from his horn. Eventually the truck was allowed to pass but shortly thereafter the trucker jumped from his cab and had to be restrained by C&S security.

One driver, with a propane fuel delivery from the Osterman Gas propane company, refused to cross the picket line, showing his solidarity for the strikers. Unions count on the solidarity of other workers to help them in their fight for better treatment and compensation from their employers. The success of the labor movement in the 20th century was due in no small part to workers honoring other workers' boycotts and picket lines.

Brown also said calls have been received from workers inside the plant who were upset about having to perform struck work. "Once we got those calls, we responded with a picket line to also send a message to the folks inside C&S that we're responsive to their call as well."

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