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Market Basket to workers: Return Monday or you’re fired.

Three people wear t-shirts at the rally for Arthur T. at the Market Basket on Main Street in Tewksbury, Mass Monday. There was going to be another rally at headquarters but they were told they would have been arrested for trespassing. The crowd was estimated to be 3,000.

Three people wear t-shirts at the rally for Arthur T. at the Market Basket on Main Street in Tewksbury, Mass Monday. There was going to be another rally at headquarters but they were told they would have been arrested for trespassing. The crowd was estimated to be 3,000.

Market Basket’s leaders are calling for all employees to return to work Aug. 4 or risk being replaced.

Many employees of the regional grocery chain have been on an unofficial strike since July 21, refusing to deliver fresh produce to the chain’s 71 stores until the board of directors reinstates ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

“We want Market Basket associates back to work and reiterate that they can return without fear of penalty,” co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch said in a statement issued last night.

“We understand that some associates may choose not to return, consequently we will begin advertising for employment opportunities,” they added.

Current employees can attend the job fairs, to be held at the chain’s corporate IT center in Massachusetts if they seek a job change or promotion, according to the announcement.

“Tradition has always been to promote from within. If existing employees seek to change positions. . . . first preference will be given to them,” the statement read.

The sessions for current employees are scheduled for Aug. 4 and 5 from 4 to 8 p.m., at 340 Ballardvale St., in Andover, Mass.

Outside candidates are invited Aug. 6, 1-8 p.m.

Managers and assistant managers of 68 of the 71 New England stores signed petitions saying they would resign if Demoulas isn’t restored “with full authority,” according to the Associated Press.

Demoulas offered last week to buy the 50.5 percent of the chain that is controlled by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and his allies among the family.

The board has said that offer is one of several it is evaluating.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

Legacy Comments16

It has been suggested that if you don't own the company you have no say. Well let's consider for a moment, MB, the workers don't own it but are willing to put their livelihood on the line to preserve what we have all come to appreciate, shopping at Market Basket. The board of directors have nothing to do with MB's success, that would be Arthur T that did it along with the workers. He understood the value of workers and obviously the feeling was mutual. Market Basket would be nothing without the people who are the face of the company to the shoppers. The fact that many are risking their well being to get their MB back is something you don't see anymore. We owe it to the workers that have to weigh principles against paychecks to BOYCOTT Market Basket until such a time that the workers have won. We owe it to our friends, family and the other employees to support them by staying away. This is about more than jobs, this is about principles and respect. This is about the importance of keeping those that actually are responsible for the companies existence happy. Recognizing that they are more than no name drones working to line do nothing shareholders pockets.

Yeah, willing to lose your job for a wealthy person's status. Just don't understand priorities of these "striking" workers. Hey, maybe if you were unionized and had a strike stipulation within your contracts (yeah, you don't have those either), you could strike without threat of termination. This is a warped reverence-"oh, St. Arthur T. keep me earning just above the poverty line while you hoard millions."

You seem to be missing the point. Arthur T. apparently has "hoarded" less than the average CEO, in order to pay employees higher-than-average wages and provide profit sharing. Arthur S, on the other hand is not satisfied with mere super-wealth, and believes Arthur T is preventing him from achieving uber-wealth. Therefore the firing. Employees see the handwriting on the wall - their profit sharing and higher wages will probably be some of the first things cut, in order to maximize profits for the 9 shareholders of the company.

Artie S. accuses Artie T of "a reckless business plan" which includes low prices, higher wages, employees profit sharing & a benefits package a family could live on. Artie S. wants to turn over more profits to the 9 shareholders! Hmmm ...50,000 employees ~ or 9 shareholders? & that is what's bringing down country: corporate greed!

The amazing thing is not one Republican has come out to endorse the workers. Finally, the middle class can see who this party aligns themselves with. The cooperation and not the people.

But, but.... I thought corporations ARE people?

I think support for Arthur T could have been done in a different way instead of walking out and refusing to work. I also wonder what will happen if the employees fired cannot collect unemployment which is a possibility. Will any other supermarket hire them? Lets face it, the reality is that an employee who refuses to work because of a dispute going on with the owners, just might not be seen as a good risk for an employer. If you do not own shares in a company, you basically have no say in how that company is run. I understand the dedication to Arthur T, but the reality is that this long standing feud between cousins could go on and on in the courts perhaps, and in the meantime MB is shut down. Dedication to a boss is terrific but it does not pay your bills if your fired and unemployment denies you benefits.

LaurieFenwick -- Are you saying that no one should take a stand for what they believe in? This isn't about money, it's about leadership, and they felt they had good leadership with Arthur T. at the helm (and considering the moves that the BOD and the current CEOs have made so far, I would have to agree). Announcing this job fair is a misstep on the CEOs part -- their jobs are protected under the National Labor Relations Board. And most of the employees ARE working and stocking shelves where they can. They're just not getting the deliveries, and the customers have made the decision to boycott the store until Arthur T. is back in charge. That's been their only demand, and it's commendable that a non-union company would join together for a common cause along with their customers. This is unprecedented, and something to be written about in the business books.

Reason to strike under the National Labor Relations Board is basically determined under unfair labor practices, working environment, wages etc. Not sure if the owners fighting amongst themselves will be seen as a reason to strike by the board. MB employees would have better ground to stand on if they were unionized.

Ok you threw your hissy fits....time to get back to work. BTW there are not many jobs these days that pay $20/hr for HS grads...Something to consider as you congratulate yourselves for "giving it" to the MAN.

Yeah - and there WON'T be ANY if the new CEO gets his way. Market Basket under Artie T was able to have the lowest prices and the best paid workers. Compare that to WalMart. WHY were they able to do this? Because their CEO knew that it was perfectly fine to be "rich enough" without being "filthy rich." He was not overly greedy - he was wel-off but cared FIRST for the customers and the workers and SECOND for the CASH. If Artie T comes back - I will forever be a loyal MB customer. If he doesn't - I will boycott them forever.

I couldn't have said it better myself Dan. My family too will boycott forever or be loyal forever - that is the choice of the BOD. It is simply amazing what this group of employees is doing.

Our family agrees with you. No Arthur T, no more MB for us. I'm trying to figure out what kind of BOD hires TWO CEOs. I'm glad I'm not a shareholder.

What makes you so bitter? Arthur T. is "the man"! These people are standing up to the usurpers. Get it?

LaurieFenwick - where do you think those $20 jobs came from? From the fired CEO. Do you really think the corporation will continue to offer those well paying jobs under the new leadership? THAT's what's being protested here. And why is it so important to you that these employees get back to work? How does it affect you? If it's because you miss the lower prices at MB, then you can say goodbye to those under the new leadership as well. Get a clue, woman.


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