Market Basket customers mobilize to help workers
News that the company is planning a three-day job fair beginning next Monday to hire replacements for protesters and no-show employees did little to dampen the resolve of workers who were both on the job and outside holding signs at the Londonderry store.
Like other Market Basket workers, Connington thinks the job fair is just the latest tactic in a bitter decades-long feud among members of the Demoulas family over control of the privately held supermarket chain. Arthur T. Demoulas was fired as CEO in June as a result of that infighting. He has since made an offer to buy out other family members; the board is now considering that and other offers and proposals.
Warehouse workers and truck drivers have stayed out of work, leaving many stores without any fresh products.
On Thursday, customers launched a campaign on the Facebook page, Save Market Basket, to pay for a full-page ad in the Lowell Sun targeted directly at the company’s board of directors. Within the first five hours, the Save Artie T. customer ad fund had more than $10,000 in pledges to pay for the $3,000 ad.
Salem resident Karen Russo, a vendor who fills the magazine racks at Market Basket, said she has taken a huge loss over the past two weeks because of the boycotts. Nobody is at the stores to pick up the latest edition of anything.
“My income is very low,” said Russo, who shops at Market Basket because of the low prices.
“I won’t shop here now,” said Russo, who added she is confident the chain’s customer base will fade away unless Arthur T. is brought back.
Raymond resident Jessica Hemenway said she lives about a mile from a Hannaford grocery store, but has always driven to Epping to shop at Market Basket. She said she won’t be making that trip until Arthur T. is reinstated.
Market Basket workers have received support from elected officials in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and this week, the business community also began reaching out.
“We believe it is our responsibility to assist our members through financial hard times, and this could be one of those times for some of our members,” said Timothy J. Collia, president and CEO of the credit union.