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Passers-by show support for protesting Market Basket workers

Union Leader Correspondent

July 27. 2014 7:36PM
In Lee, Market Basket employees hold signs outside the store on busy Route 125 on Saturday. Many drivers beeped their horns in approval of their support for ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. (KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS/Union Leader Correspondent)

LEE — Saturday afternoon a steady stream of cars passing by on busy Route 125 in Lee beeped their vehicle’s horns to show their support for Market Basket employees who held signs in support of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

Around 1:30 p.m., about a dozen employees held signs and proudly waved them high as cars sped by beeping. Most of the posters were handmade and some read, “Bring back Artie T. — Make your Market Basket what it used to be,” or “Boycott Market Basket” and “$ave Market Basket.” Passengers yelled words of encouragement as they drove by.

The Lee employees have, along with thousands of other Market Basket workers, vowed to continue to fight for the return of Arthur T. Demoulas as CEO. They have been lined up on Route 125 for days.

In Milford, the disruption of food delivery at the local Market Basket comes on the heels of the closing of Stop & Shop in recent years, leaving fewer places to shop for groceries.

Down the road a mile, a Super Wal-Mart in Amherst had a parking lot that looked like it was the Christmas rush time. “It was very crowded. All the stores were busy,” said Gretchen Robinson of Amherst who shopped at Wal-Mart on Saturday but Hannaford and Shaws the past few days.

“Market Basket has really good prices. I don’t like paying $3 more per pound for Land-O-Lakes cheese at Shaw’s,” added Robinson.

It’s well-known the produce shelves in Market Basket stores have been empty since earlier in the week when trucks stopped making deliveries but Milford’s Mariah Upperman was surprised there was no lettuce in the Amherst Wal-Mart either. “The store was really crowded. I needed lettuce because I couldn’t get it at Market Basket but there was no lettuce at Wal-Mart, either fresh or packaged.”

Shoppers have concerns that the shift in Market Basket shopper’s loyalties will impact their shopping habits as well. “My mom said she’s scared to go food shopping because the other stores are much busier,” said Upperman.

Roger Breakey, manager of the Market Basket in Milford, said, “My wife asked me where she was going to food shop this week.” He has been with the company 40 years.

The assistant manager at the Milford store, Mark Sturzo has been with the company 36 years and fully supports Arthur T. “We’ll stand behind Artie 100 percent. This is a family-run business and we are all family. The new CEO does not know our culture,” said Sturzo who added, “Market Basket Strong.”

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