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Market Basket employees and customers remain loyal to their former CEO

Union Leader Correspondent

July 31. 2014 9:41PM
Market Basket employees Yvonne Despres and Gino Demambro wait in aisle 2 at the Milford Market Basket for customers. (KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS/Union Leader Correspondent)

MILFORD — Milford Market Basket employees remain loyal to ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, picketing outside with signs, mostly on their own time, as the company’s power struggle continues.

The company has announced it plans to hold job fairs for current employees on Monday and Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Market Basket’s IT Computer Center in Andover, Mass.

A job fair for the general public will be held next Wednesday from 1 to 8 p.m.

This news comes one day after Market Basket officials issued a statement saying employees who have stayed off the job to demand the return of Arthur T. Demoulas must return to work by Monday. It added workers can return without penalty; those who don’t return will be replaced.

“I won’t go to the job fair,” said picketing employee Steven Tallarico. “After Monday I’ll still keep the same hours picketing to show support to Artie T. He cares about his employees.”

Milford assistant manager Mark Sturzo, a 36-year employee, attended a company rally in Tewksbury earlier in the day and said, “We had a very positive rally and will hold down the fort and stay focused on the task at hand to bring back Artie T.

“We’ll be back stronger. All my people are ready to get back to work and get the shelves stocked again,” added Struzo.

“We only had one delivery in two weeks. We have not had a lot of customers either, but we have enough employees to man the store,” Milford store manager Roger Breakey said.

“I support what the employees are doing whole-heartedly. I won’t shop here again if they don’t bring (fired CEO) Arthur T. Demoulas back,” said Marty Pendleton of Temple, who wanted to pick up a bottle of wine at the outlet store next door but stopped to sign a petition. “The wine can wait, I need to sign the petition first.”

Former Market Basket customers have taped up receipts from other stores, showing they are willing to shop elsewhere.

“This is the only time I’ve seen managers and workers on strike together. It’s totally unusual,” said boycotting customer John Curran of Peterborough.

“I don’t understand what they are doing. They have a good thing here and the employees are treated well. It’s rare that employees are happy, products are good, prices are low and they are making money,” added Curran.

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