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August 02. 2014 7:13PM

Market Basket employees plan major rally Tuesday

Market Basket workers plan to rally in Tewksbury, Mass., on Tuesday morning, a day later than planned.

The change was to give more time to rally organizers to make parking arrangements and for police to hire additional staff, according to Steve Paulenka, a top organizer and a Londonderry resident recently terminated by Market Basket. "Its purely a logistical thing," Paulenka said Saturday.The rally will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday near the Market Basket store at Stadium Plaza.

Most Market Basket customers are boycotting stores until the supermarket chain's ousted CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, is returned to power. Some workers are picketing stores during their off hours, while some have stayed off the job.

Tilton store director Mike LeClair told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Thursday that cash register sales there were down 94 percent from normal.

"There is no store, to my knowledge, that has lost less than 90 percent (of its normal sales) and many of them are over 95 percent," Paulenka said.

He predicted only 200,000 to 300,000 of Market Basket's normal 2 million customers will have shopped this week in stores, which are running low on some supplies, including produce and meat.

Instead of company officials taking out full-page newspaper ads looking to replace some workers, "they should have taken a full-page ad looking for customers because they're going to need them," he said.

"They (customers) made it clear they're not coming back until we do, and we're not coming back until the boss does," Paulenka said.

A company spokesman didn't immediately respond Saturday.

Previous rallies have drawn thousands of workers from three New England states, including New Hampshire. Market Basket operates about 30 stores in the Granite State.

The company's co-CEOs ordered all workers to be back to work Monday or face being replaced. The company also will be conducting a three-day job fair starting Monday in Andover, Mass.

mcousineau@uninleader.com



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