Shelves Remain Bare As Market Basket Protests Continue

Hundreds showed up in Tewksbury on Monday to continue to call for the rehiring of the former CEO.

Photo by Steve Annear

Photo by Steve Annear

Shoppers visiting Market Basket locations over the weekend were met with pamphlets and petitions in place of produce and other perishable goods as the embattled supermarkets continue to take a hit due to the company’s recent decision to oust former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

On Monday, the barren food aisles were expected to remain the same as workers again gathered at Market Basket headquarters in Tewksbury for a day-long protest, waving signs, marching, and calling for Demoulas to get his job back as head of the supermarket chain.

Demoulas was removed from his post last month by a board of directors that includes his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. The families have been feuding for decades over the control of the supermarket chain, which has 71 stores in three states.

Already, at least eight employees were fired during the weekend as a result of the ongoing protests, causing more outrage as workers gathered in Tewksbury.

According to the “Save Market Basket” Facebook page, which has been keeping employees updated on the tense situation that has unfolded in the last month, the employees—some of whom have worked for the company for 40 years—were notified via courier of their termination.

“It wasn’t unexpected…I knew the risk but I also knew that I was fighting for something much bigger than myself. I was fighting for my [Market Basket] family, for Arthur T. Demoulas, a man that I have tremendous respect, loyalty, and admiration for,” said Tom Trainor, one of the employees who was let go. “I have no regrets—I would do it all over again and I leave the company I love with my head held high in the knowledge that there wasn’t a single thing more that I could have done.”

The issue has even garnered attention from state officials, who have stepped in to voice support for the workers who have left or lost their jobs to stand behind Demoulas.

“The actions of thousands of Market Basket employees over the last days have been truly inspiring. They are putting their jobs on the line—with little or no protection from reprisals from current management—to stand up for the simple principle that workers deserve to be treated with respect and their voices deserve to be heard,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “I hope the current management of Market Basket will respect these voices and that these employees will able to make their case without losing their jobs or their hard earned benefits.”

Other politicians have signed a petition promising to boycott the store until the workers’ demands are met.

In Somerville, business was slower than usual on a Sunday afternoon, as employees lingered around the store and shelves went unstocked. Racks where pre-made salads and other vegetables would normally go were completely empty, and signs that urged confused customers to call on the company’s leaders to reinstate Demoulas hung in their place.

Near the exits, large posters of the former CEO’s face were hung high above customers’ heads, with the words “I Believe” underneath. Cashiers at each checkout line had petitions at the ready, asking people to sign them in support of Demoulas as they paid for their food.

The scene was not out of the ordinary in Somerville, however. Stores all across the state were similarly void of new shipments, leaving the normally bustling supermarket looking like it does in the wintertime when a major snowstorm is approaching.

Workers said the conditions will continue until some sort of action is taken on the part of the board that forced out Demoulas.

Market Basket 2

  • david

    Support your local MB . Dear customers thanks for all the support for MB workers!

    • gramps,

      I drove by the Sagamore store @ 12:30 & it was so ‘very’ refreshing to see all the Cape Cod people out front ‘defending’ Artie T…..

      The parking lot showed their impact.

      “well done”

      gramps,….PS

      Google : Market Basket depositions

      The story is ALL there !

  • alum1989

    This is yet another classic screw up by a so-called, independent Board of Directors which is anything but independent. While I have no dog in this fight the Boards overt forcing of a Family CEO out of his job in such a public forum is the worst way to handle the situation. They certainly could have taken a vote in private- called the CEO in and ask for his resignation, explaining that they planned on replacing him if he did not cooperate in a smooth transition
    Unfortunately there have been accusations of improprieties by other family members and sweetheart inside dealings. If these are factual, then the Board owes a responsibility to investigate these, BEFORE rushing to judgment. Then if improprieties can be proven, then a valid cause for termination has been established.
    This can only be classified as a family feud an a power play by those who heretofore have not been in control, who by virtue of the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling, now have control and are seeking to remedy past problems by immediate, knee jerk reaction to what they want.
    This is not only ill-conceived but stupid and desperate via the actions taken, which can and will only devalue the MarketBasket name and reputation and hurt the DeMoulas family shareholders, to say nothing of the litigation costs which I see as the next logical steps in the process for those employees who were unceremonially and possibly fired without cause.
    Why is it that Boards in this day in age seem to always have separate agendas and nobody on them who will stand up and say, Hey wait a minute, we need to think this through and examine ALL of our options?????????
    This will end up being a case study for some college as to How Board of Directors screw up and damage Companies!!!!!!!

    • Randy

      Are you serious? This is a privately held company. The Board is the family, you idiot.

  • Anita Lynn

    Actually travel more than 50 miles to shop at the Swanzey, NH location and was actually planning a trip there this weekend, but now evidently that will have to be postponed. I have shopped in several of the New Hampshire locations and this really is a unique grocery store. Such a shame that family power plays & greed have overshadowed a good company. Unless this is resolved in quick fashion, I see irreparable damage done to this supermarket chain and if it goes on too long, people will just find somewhere else to shop and probably never return to these stores. That doesn’t even begin to address the fate of all the Market basket employees who may wind up unemployed.