Friday, September 19, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;54.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-09-19 19:51:00
Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thousands rally in support of ousted Market Basket CEO

Thousands of Market Basket workers came together in Tewksbury, Mass., on Friday morning for a solidarity rally in advance of a board of directors meeting at which the future of the grocery store chain topped the agenda.

The rambunctious event staged outside company headquarters featured managers, employees and customers joining together to listen to impassioned speeches presented from a makeshift wooden stage and podium perched in the back of a pickup truck. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

Thousands of Market Basket workers came together in Tewksbury, Mass., on Friday morning for a solidarity rally in advance of a board of directors meeting at which the future of the grocery store chain topped the agenda.

The rambunctious event staged outside company headquarters featured managers, employees and customers joining together to listen to impassioned speeches presented from a makeshift wooden stage and podium perched in the back of a pickup truck.

The speakers stressed the theme of unification and the need to stay “Market Basket Strong.”

Attendees toughed it out in the hot sun, using handmade signs to cover themselves. Bottles of water were distributed throughout the crowd, and one police officer made his way among the people imploring them to drink to stay hydrated.

Tom Trainor, a manager for the company who was fired last week along with other several other senior staff members, reviewed the week’s efforts to have ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas reinstated and asked the crowd to keep up the fight next week.

“Going forward, we need the customers, and the customers need to stay out of our stores,” Trainor said. “They need to go to the competition, because the only things these people understand is money. We keep the customers out of the stores, they’re not making money.”

“It’s coming down to the wire,” said Cody Enis, a four-year employee of the Salem, N.H., store, “and we’re 100 percent confident that we’re going to pull through.”

Matt Moreau, a seven-year employee at the same store, said, “We’re going to be out here until we get him back.”

Buses from as far away as Goffstown delivered participants. Others who drove parked where they could along bordering streets and in lots around Stadium Plaza.

Inside headquarters, board members said they would consider an offer Arthur T. made this week to buy the company.

“Consistent with its fiduciary obligations, the Board will evaluate and seriously consider this proposal, along with any other offers previously received and to be received,” the board said in a statement issued after meeting.

The late Arthur Demoulas, grandfather of Arthur S. and Arthur T., opened the first store in Lowell, Mass., nearly a century ago. Market Basket now has 25,000 employees and 71 stores in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.

“I think Artie has been a pillar of our community,” said Jim Carnevale, of Lowell, who was walking with his wife, Mary, and dog Ringo, who sported a Market Basket scarf draped from his collar.

Carnevale described himself and his wife as “concerned citizens and shoppers.”

“I think the fact that he supports his workers is very important,” Carnevale said.

Joanne Chubbuck, who works in the Biddeford, Maine, store, watched from atop her truck, dangling her legs through the sunroof. She said she worried about the future of the store and spoke about how Arthur T. treated his employees like family.

“When they come in, we’re not going to be there,” she said of new management.

Employees believe the fight between the family members loyal to Arthur T. and Arthur S. is largely over money and the direction of the company. They say Arthur S. and his supporters have pressed for a greater return to shareholders.

“They’re taking away benefits. Bonuses and everything,” said Danielle MacDonald, of Raynham, Mass.

Joe Schmidt, fired as the supervisor of operations at corporate headquarters, urged the crowd to “stand your ground. We need Arthur T. back.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or DHimsel@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).