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    Joe Biden will speak to striking Stop & Shop workers Thursday

    YASMINA CHAVEZ/LAS VEGAS SUN VIA AP/FILE
    Former vice president Joe Biden.

    Former vice president Joe Biden will speak to striking Stop & Shop workers Thursday in Dorchester, his office and the union said.

    The rally will be at 2 p.m. at the South Bay Center in Dorchester.

    About 31,000 Stop & Shop workers have been on strike since Thursday. The grocery chain is the largest in New England and one of the last remaining union shops in the industry.

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    Union leaders have said they oppose the company’s proposed contract change, which they said would cut wages, pensions, and health insurance. The company has also cut staff and relied more on automation, they said.

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    Stop & Shop’s president, Mark McGowan, defended the grocery chain’s offer to the union in a letter to customers Monday, in which he also apologized for the inconvenience the strike has caused.

    “The wages, healthcare, and pension offer for all of our employees ... are among the best for New England retail and supermarket associates,” McGowan wrote. “This contract offer is no exception.”

    Pundits expect Biden to enter the 2020 presidential race, where many national polls show him leading the crowded Democratic field. His appearance in Boston will put him close to the all-important first primary state of New Hampshire.

    Biden will not be the first person linked to the 2020 race to visit the striking workers. Senator Elizabeth Warren joined workers on a picket line outside a Stop & Shop store in Somerville on Friday.

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    Biden sent a tweet Friday in which he said “I stand with” the union.

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    Material from Globe wires was used in this report.