Market Basket workers urged to 'shut it down'; deposed CEO urges fired workers be given jobs back
Thousands of Market Basket workers rally in Tewksbury, Mass., on Monday to pressure the supermaket chain to rehire its ousted CEO. (MICHAEL COUSINEAU/UNION LEADER)
Police and organizers each estimated the crowd reached into the thousands. Many workers who cheered and waved signs had skipped their normal work shift at stores that were suffering from a lack of deliveries. Workers ramped up the pressure on the company to bring back Arthur T. Demoulas, who, many said, treated his workers like family members.
A group of workers from the Seabrook, N.H., store said they planned to stand outside rather than return to work later Monday.
His colleague, Allen Pelletier, the grocery manager there, said he also would heed the call.
“Oh yeah,” said Pelletier, who’s worked there 17 years and hopes to retire in another 24. “I have the keys to the store; I can.”
Paulenka said all 15 stores he visited Sunday had fewer customers than normal.
At the rival Hannaford supermarket chain, “the stores have been busy” in recent days, Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom said Monday.
“We’ve certainly seen a lot of activity in the stores,” Blom said, adding “it’s inappropriate to talk about any particular competitor.”
“It’s heartening to see just how much the workers of Market Basket value the company and respect its past, present and future,” the governor said. “I encourage Market Basket leadership to continue in that spirit by listening to their employees’ concerns and seeking to quickly address the situation with a focus on keeping their dedicated workers employed and reducing the impact on customers.”
Even before Monday’s call to shut the Market Basket stores, some workers weren’t reporting to work.
Richard Pirelli, an assistant grocery manager at the Milford store, recalled when Arthur T. Demoulas came to the grand opening of the Tilton, N.H., store years back when Pirelli worked there. Demoulas was greeting customers, noticed produce counters were running low and jumped in to help.
Pirelli said the Milford store this week was running out of certain items. “There’s hardly any produce. No chicken. There’s no fish. The deli’s almost empty.”
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