On Thursday afternoon, Market Basket Co-CEO Felicia Thornton clarified a directive given to store directors to slash hours for all part-time employees.
A spokesman for the company shared the following: “Store Directors were not instructed to lay off associates, but to adjust hours to meet current demand. It is our hope that we will be back to normal business levels in the not too distant future and all associates will be back to a full schedule.”
But Market Basket employees remain unconvinced that reduction in part-time isn’t just a delayed layoff.
Branislav Juric, an Assistant Store Director at the Danvers, Mass. Market Basket had this to say: “They’re sugar coating it by saying no one said anyone was getting laid off. While it may be true that no one terminated, there are no hours to give to any part-time staff next week.”
On Friday, Thornton sent an email to store directors advising them to “schedule staff levels necessary to serve your current customer base” and didn’t allot the normal number of hours for a regular shopper volume.
According to Juric, the Danvers store has approximately 35,000 to 40,000 customers in a moderate week of normal business.
“Last week our store only had 5,011 customers,” Juric said.
“We have 600 employees at this store, and about 350 to 400 part-timers; the majority of our workers are part-time. Some have been here five, six, ten years or more working part-time,” Juric shared. “I had women crying this morning when they found out we couldn’t schedule them at all next week.”
Juric noted that based on the payroll hours the store had to make for next week, there were only enough hours for full-time management to staff the store, shutting out all part-time workers.
Meanwhile, job fairs for management-level positions at Market Basket continue this week. Juric doesn’t understand why anyone would even go to these job fairs in the first place.
“Who are they [job fair applicants] replacing?” Juric asked. “There’s only those first eight people who got fired. This job fair – there’s no positions open right now. Unless of course they’re using this reduced staff scheduling to blame store managers for not doing their jobs so they can terminate people down the road.”
Juric claims that the Market Basket CEOs refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room – namely, the massive customer boycott. “They have never once mentioned the boycott or used the word ‘boycott’ in any communications,” Juric said of emails and memos from Market Basket headquarters.
When asked about how much longer Market Basket employees would protest, Juric said until as long as they have to. “We’re trying to save the Market Basket culture. If we lose, we lose, but this is a fight worth fighting.”
Juric continued: “I’ll have quite the story to tell my daughter years from now if this doesn’t work out. But it’ll be a great story to tell her if we do come through.”
Stay tuned for continuing updates to this story.
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