As the Market Basket saga continues to unfold, supporters of ousted former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas have planned a major rally at Market Basket corporate headquarters in Tewksbury, Mass. for this Tuesday at 11 AM.
The rally, originally scheduled for Monday, had to be moved due to permits for additional parking, needed because of the massive number of protesters expected to attend the rally.
Tuesday’s rally marks the fourth rally at Market Basket headquarters since July 18th. Their third rally on July 25th drew an estimated crowd of 6,000 to 7,000 protesters.
Protesters are calling for the reinstatement of ‘Artie T.’ – the much beloved former CEO who was unceremoniously fired back in June.
The standoff between current Co-CEOs James Gooch and Felicia Thornton and employees loyal to Artie T. has gotten vicious in the past several days, with Market Basket execs threatening to fire employees who don’t return to work by Monday, August 4th.
To further drive home their point, Market Basket execs took out full-page ads in New England newspapers advertising job fairs all this coming week for management positions across their 71 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
In response, shoppers loyal to Market Basket employees and Arthur T. Demoulas then purchased their own full-page ad shaming Market Basket execs for their behavior and treatment of their workers.
This past Friday, paychecks were withheld from approximately 50 senior employees at Market Basket including district and store managers, a move by Gooch and Thornton to force them to return to work on Monday. A letter sent via certified mail to these employees informed them that they would receive their paychecks Monday if they returned to work.
As the situation has gained national attention, both the Attorney Generals for Massachusetts and New Hampshire Martha Coakley and Joseph Foster have put Co-CEOs Gooch and Thornton on notice, sending a joint letter reminding them of their responsibilities under the law with regard to employee termination.
Coakley and Foster’s letter reads in part:
We write to you as the chief law enforcement officers of our respective states, which includes our duty to protect the rights of workers under Massachusetts and New Hampshire law. We are keenly aware of recent reports that Market Basket has terminated a number of employees and of reports today that more workers may face termination and replacement in the coming days… Whatever decisions you make in the coming days, needless to say our offices expect and will require compliance with our respective laws.
With Monday’s ultimatum deadline looming and a major rally planned for Tuesday, there’s little sign that either side of the Market Basket protest intend to back down.
Will you be headed to Tuesday’s rally? What do you think about the ongoing protests?
Share your thoughts in the comments.