At Market Basket protest, truck driver gets arrested
TEWKSBURY, Mass. — A truck driver was tackled and arrested at Market Basket’s Tewksbury, Mass., headquarters Friday afternoon after he charged at protestors with a hammer.
Tewksbury police quickly moved in and knocked the driver down after he stopped the truck he was to driving into the warehouse parking lot, jumped from the cab and started moving toward the picket line.
He had been hired as a temporary fill-in driver during the work stoppage.
“He came out of the cab with a hammer down by his side, there was a rag wrapped around it,” said John Dixon, a deli manager for a Market Basket in Nashua, in an interview Fox News Boston.
Dixon said the driver, who had exchanged taunts with protestors earlier in the day, had the hammer cocked at his waist.
“He was very aggressive,” said Dixon. “He was specifically going after two of our guys.”
Shortly after the incident, a Market Basket spokesman released a brief statement from the company.
“We are thankful that local police intervened and that no one was injured. Market Basket of course condemns the driver’s actions. Both the driver and the company for which he worked have been terminated, effective immediately.”
According to Tewksbury police, the driver was still in custody at 6:30 p.m. A police dispatcher said that no further information on his identity or any criminal charges he may face would be available until today.
The Boston Globe reported that he works for J.B. Hunt, an Arkansas-based company.
Several protestors, including former Operations
A crowd of several hundred workers were picketing Market Basket headquarters Friday, the final day for central office staff and other employees to return to their jobs or risk being replaced.
The deadline came and went without any employees crossing the picketline.
Warehouse workers and delivery drivers continue to say they will not return to work until ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is back in his office. Demoulas was fired last month by rival family members who own a controlling interest in the supermarket chain.
At many of Market Basket’s 71 stores, where customer traffic has been reduced to a trickle, managers and staff were ignoring the new management team’s directive to remove all protest and boycott signs from store entrances. At some stores, employees were putting up new signs.
Market Basket customers who have supported the workers by boycotting the grocery chain, are planning their own pair of protests today. Customers will rally with associates at Market Basket on Elm Street in Manchester at 5:30 p.m. A second rally will kick off at the Stadium Plaza store in Tewksbury at 6 p.m.