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Concord Market Basket employees encourage customer boycott

  • Employees of the Storrs Street Market Basket react to a honking car in front of the store Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Store assistant manager Robin Jarvis, in sunglasses and tie joined the group as he supports the bringing back Arthur T. Demoulas as C.E.O of the embattled company. "The right thing to do is to bring back Artie T." Jarvis said before going back to work.<br/><br/>Asked if was worried about getting fired over his action, he said he feels he is next to go anyway and, " I would rather see me go rather than any of my employees."<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

    Employees of the Storrs Street Market Basket react to a honking car in front of the store Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Store assistant manager Robin Jarvis, in sunglasses and tie joined the group as he supports the bringing back Arthur T. Demoulas as C.E.O of the embattled company. "The right thing to do is to bring back Artie T." Jarvis said before going back to work.

    Asked if was worried about getting fired over his action, he said he feels he is next to go anyway and, " I would rather see me go rather than any of my employees."

    (GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

  • Shaun Shattuck, a grocery clerk at the Storrs Street Market Basket, shows off his markings in front of the store Tuesday, July 22, 2014.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

    Shaun Shattuck, a grocery clerk at the Storrs Street Market Basket, shows off his markings in front of the store Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

    (GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

  • Danika Olson, 2 1/2-yr-old daughter of Market Basket employee Samantha Serfass, holds up a sign encouraging a boycott of the store on Storrs Street Tuesday, July 22, 2014. <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

    Danika Olson, 2 1/2-yr-old daughter of Market Basket employee Samantha Serfass, holds up a sign encouraging a boycott of the store on Storrs Street Tuesday, July 22, 2014.


    (GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

  • Employees of the Storrs Street Market Basket react to a honking car in front of the store Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Store assistant manager Robin Jarvis, in sunglasses and tie joined the group as he supports the bringing back Arthur T. Demoulas as C.E.O of the embattled company. "The right thing to do is to bring back Artie T." Jarvis said before going back to work.<br/><br/>Asked if was worried about getting fired over his action, he said he feels he is next to go anyway and, " I would rather see me go rather than any of my employees."<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)
  • Shaun Shattuck, a grocery clerk at the Storrs Street Market Basket, shows off his markings in front of the store Tuesday, July 22, 2014.<br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)
  • Danika Olson, 2 1/2-yr-old daughter of Market Basket employee Samantha Serfass, holds up a sign encouraging a boycott of the store on Storrs Street Tuesday, July 22, 2014. <br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

Donna Maddox-Barnard offered to bring cold water to the young men picketing outside the Market Basket on Fort Eddy Road in Concord yesterday, but they said no.

They pointed to a cooler. They had been outside holding signs since the store opened at 7 a.m., and they planned to be there until closing at 9 p.m., they said.

“You gotta do what you gotta do. I’m not worried right now about losing my job, I’m worried about the direction our company is heading if we don’t do something,” said deli clerk Samuel Harkins.

Employees began protesting Friday at the company’s Tewksbury, Mass., headquarters, calling on the board of directors to reinstate ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. He was fired last month after decades of warring with his cousin and fellow board member Arthur S. Demoulas.

Yesterday, employees took the protests to their own stores to ask customers to shop elsewhere if they could, to send a message to the board that the customers are behind them, and behind “Artie T.”

It seemed to be working. Parking lots and aisles at both locations were unusually empty.

At the Storrs Street location, traffic was down to less than half of the normal volume, said assistant store manager Robin Jarvis.

“It’s very slow. We really appreciate it because it shows people are listening,” he said.

Clerks in orange vests, assigned to fetch grocery carriages from the parking lot, paced empty-handed from the store to the corral.

Maddox-Barnard, who has been shopping at Market Basket since 1980, turned around and drove off after talking to the protesters.

“I’ll do whatever I can. I thought I was helping by coming in, but if you say go, I’ll go,” she said.

So did Peggy Grappone, adding a three-note honk of her car’s horn as she drove away.

“I’ve been following it, and I wondered what I’d see today,” she said. “I support the employees 100 percent, and if that’s what they think will help, that’s what I’ll do. I feel badly for the people who have lost their jobs already. And their prices are very fair, so I feel badly for the people who can’t afford to go to other stores,” she said.

Kim Stevens of Concord said she’ll probably boycott. She visited the Storrs Street location yesterday only to help her aunt.

“I want to help any way I can, but it will definitely be difficult for different people. My aunt, she’s elderly, she’s stuck in her ways, and she’s on a strictly limited income,” Stevens said. “Even $20 extra every month is something she doesn’t have. We’d have to really do more work on our part to make it work shopping somewhere else.”

Yesterday was day six of a partial shut down for the regional grocery chain. Only a small percent of deliveries are leaving the Massachusetts warehouse, and the chain’s 71 stores, including two in Concord, are beginning to run out of perishable goods.

There was firewood where the nectarines should have been, napkins in the mango display, and 15 perfectly arranged cans of sliced carrots – evenly placed several inches apart, with their labels squarely facing up – on the refrigerated shelf where fresh carrots should have been.

A driver – not a Market Basket employee, but a replacement – tried to deliver a trailer of goods to the Fort Eddy Road store but didn’t have the regular paperwork, said Jim Betto, an assistant store manager.

“It didn’t follow protocol. There was no way for us to know if the truck was sealed at the office, so we refused to accept the delivery. He pulled away 10 feet from the loading dock, unhooked, and left. We couldn’t unload it now if we wanted to because of where it is,” Betto said.

The store is still offering employees their normal hours even though there are fewer customers and less inventory to stock.

“We can always find things to clean,” he said.

At least a dozen other managers have quit or been fired since the protests began. In a statement released Monday night, Arthur T., called for the company to hire the employees back.

In a statement yesterday, the new co-CEOs, Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch said the fired employees “compromised Market Basket’s ability to be there for our customers. We took the difficult step of termination only after we saw no alternative.

“We strongly encourage all associates to return their focus to Market Basket’s customers, their needs and expectations. . . . We are committed to earning the trust and acceptance of our associates and Market Basket’s customers and hope that our associates will judge us not on our promises, but on our actions as we move forward.”

The board of directors is scheduled to meet Friday.

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

GOOD FOR THESE FOLKS! I wonder how Artie T and the two losers who are co-CEO's are holding up? I wonder what is going through their minds? The minds of the board? Or is this the last generation of the family trying to take their share and walk away. Can you imagine what the founder would think if he was alive today. This is a very typical kind of feud that you find in Greek families, it is cultural but it is also poor business. I wish these employees all the best and success.

Itsa, Artie T is the good guy in this passion play. Artie S is the bad guy. Thought I'd tell ya before 'tillie the hun'.

Just tried Shaw's for the first time in many years...It has better quality items and no drama...I am done with Market basket...regardless of who the CEO is.

You might get same results with the Union Leader. Give it a try!

There were a ton of bananas both on the shelves and in many,. many, many boxes underneath over there at the Fort Eddy Road store last night. Maybe when the strike is over they will donate them before they rot to make banana ice cream for us all when we all get back together.

What, a BlosephSHaas post devoid of at least one reference link?! Not even a, "See Chimpanzee/X269/Congo1875/...e893I"? Will wonders never cease?

Larry, I might try to find you that link to the MONITOR story of the customer who was looking through the bananas at SHAWS on Fort Eddy a few years ago and found that Black Widow spider.

Yes, BS. It was a male customer who found that Black Widow on his banana. As I recall they hit it off, and he ended up marrying her. God rest his soul.

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