Workers pulling for ex-Market Basket CEO's buyout bid
“It’s not nice to come in to work and there’s nobody,” Belanger said. “We want our customers back.”
Market Basket employees from around New England plan another large rally Friday in Tewksbury, Mass., before the company’s board meets in Boston this afternoon.
Workers are urging customers to boycott the stores until Arthur T. Demoulas is returned to power after he was ousted in a family dispute. A statement said the ex-CEO’s coalition wants to buy the remaining company shares.
“The Arthur T. Demoulas side of the family has made an offer to buy the 50.5 percent of shares in Demoulas Market Basket Supermarkets we do not own,” the statement said. “We believe that our offer is a very full and fair one and should meet or exceed a seller’s expectations of the value of the company.”
Gulezian, whose Market Basket tenure dates back to his days as a part-timer bagger in 1984, said employee absenteeism was normal this week with employees picketing along Elm Street during their off hours.
He said business Wednesday was down probably 70 percent.
Gulezian said the store hadn’t received shipments of produce and meat for a week. Some meat on sale Thursday came from store coolers.
“It’s annoying,” she said. “Can’t find anything.”
At the Bedford location, employees were out in full force for their beloved Arthur T.
Sellappah added that he thinks Arthur T. Demoulas is “a great man,” that he has met him personally, and that he is loyal to him “110 percent.”
He said Arthur T.’s offer to buy half the company was “the best news we’ve heard in a while.”
“The board of directors, they have a fiduciary responsibility to do [what’s in] the best interest of the company, employees, vendors, and customers,” Sellappah said. “Bringing Mr. D. back would be in the best interest of the company.”
“It’s the right thing to do and it’s going to solve this thing once and for all, which is what everyone wants — the people that work for him, the customers who shop here,” Mullin said. “Everyone just wants everything to go back to normal, uninterrupted. Just let him do what he does best without any restraints or restrictions or anything else.”
Rhena Prince of Bedford was shopping at Market Basket on Thursday. Prince said she is a longtime customer and that she signed a petition inside the store to bring back Arthur T.
“I would love to see him back in charge, any way he wants to do it,” she said.
Marc Dixon, an associate professor of sociology at Dartmouth College who has written about the labor movement, called it a fascinating development in the high-stakes family dispute.“That would be an amazing turn of events if that would happen,” Dixon said.
The Market Basket situation, he said, may serve as a model for workers at other companies to copy.