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New Market Basket CEOs Urge Employees To Return To Work

TEWKSBURY, Mass. — The Market Basket supermarket chain’s new co-CEOs on Tuesday urged protesting employees to go back to work, saying they are committed to continuing the company’s “tradition of excellence and dedication.”

Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch also said they saw no alternative but to take the “difficult step” of firing eight senior employees, including some of the protest’s leaders, saying those employees “took significant actions that harmed the company and therefore compromised Market Basket’s ability to be there for our customers.” It was their first comment since the firings on Sunday.

Workers demanding the return of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas announced they will hold a “final” rally on Friday in Tewksbury, the same day the company’s board of directors plans to meet.

“We fervently hope that Friday, when the Board meets at 4pm in the Prudential Center in Boston, our revolution ends with the proper resolution,” read a statement on the group’s Facebook page. “They can put an end to all of this with a simple vote to do what is right: return Arthur T. Demoulas to his role of President and CEO.”

With workers stopping some deliveries in protest and asking customers to shop elsewhere, business has slowed and several stores have been left with empty shelves. The company has 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Demoulas said Monday the workers shouldn’t have been fired and should be reinstated. He said Market Basket’s success was “not about me” but a result of a good business model and the “impassioned associates” who carried it out.

He was fired in June by a board controlled by his rival cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, in a long-running feud over leadership of the family business.

The workers say they fear the company means to eliminate the low prices and good employee benefits it has been known for. Thornton and Gooch have said they don’t plan changes in its direction.

The new CEOs said they share many of Arthur T. Demoulas’ sentiments about their employees and customers.

“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 CEOs said.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom.

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  • Samuel Sitar

    let Market Basket people work so they are not fired. walk with them so they can stock their shelves. truancy is a stupid reason to be fired.

    • gbrbr

      I have gone to the stores, the employees are working. They are cleaning the empty shelves. The off duty employees are picketing outside of all of the stores. This is important, beyond what meets the eye. Arthur T was liked and well respected by his employees. The company culture will change and that is not acceptable. The employees (some with more than 40 years) built Demoulas / Market Basket, not the new CEO’s.

      If Arthur T opened up a new chain, MB would not have even one employee left, everyone would go work for Arthur.

      Regarding the Warehouse staff and the office staff, what are they going to do? Hire all new people? Who will train them? It would take months for them to get up and running efficiently again.

      In this situation, employees have the power, at least temporarily. I don’t think many care if they lose their jobs at this point. If the new management stays, they will lose the job they love anyway. Every thing will change.

      Did you see that one of the new CEO’s is one that helped run Radio Shack into the ground? Fired after 16 or 18 months……

      Keep going guys, you got this. I will support you! I will sign your petitions, attend your rallies and, of course, shop elsewhere until you call me back to MB.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    There is even more going on in this situation, than is being talked about. The “ongoing animosity” may or may not be fraud and/or greed. I hope we can get a clear and more full understanding of what is happening at this important local company.

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