TEWKSBURY (CBS/AP) — Market Basket workers rallied again for several hours Monday, this time outside the Tewksbury store, in support of the former chief executive.
Thousands of employees united in the store parking lot around 8 a.m., a day after the supermarket chain made good on promises to fire employees who skipped work to attend a rally Friday.
About 2,000 employees and others rallied at company headquarters last week to call for the reinstatement of fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
The company said in a statement Sunday that eight employees were fired over the weekend because “Their actions continued to harm the company, negatively impacted customers, and inhibited associates’ ability to perform their jobs.”
Some of those fired had more than four decades with the Tewksbury-based chain, which has 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
In a statement released Monday night, former Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas urged that the fired workers be reinstated.
“This is the first time I have commented publicly on the recent events at Market Basket,” Demoulas said. “The success of Market Basket is the result of two things: a business model that works and the execution of it by a dedicated and impassioned team of associates. Their fierce loyalty to the company and its customers has always been deeply valued. In the final analysis, this is not about me. It is about the people who have proven their dedication over many years and should not have lost their jobs because of it. I urge that they be reinstated in the best interest of the company and our customers.”
Tom Trainor, a Market Basket district manager, has never worked anywhere else, starting at 14 years old and putting in 41 years. A termination letter was delivered to his home but he remained resolute.
“I think it fired me up more, galvanized me more, that these people are wrong, that they just don’t know our culture, they don’t know our people,” Trainor said.
“And they think that by firing eight people that they see as ringleaders is just going to make this whole thing fall apart like a house of cards. It just goes to show they really have no idea what we’re all about.”
Joe Schmidt, a manager and Market Basket employee of 27 years, said he didn’t regret his decision, even after a courier knocked on his front door over the weekend with a termination letter.
“I know at the end of the day I did the right thing. I know I can look my children in the eye and tell them, ‘Hey, I took a stand for something,’ and you know that’s far more important than any job will ever be,” he told WBZ-TV.
Market Basket employee Linda Kulis said she is “100 percent sure” she will lose her job but remains committed to take a stand to support DeMoulas.
“This is our company,” Kulis said. “We’ve all worked here. We’ve all built it. Together.”
Meanwhile, some Market Basket stores started running out of food as deliveries had stopped on Friday.
Some Massachusetts lawmakers have called for a boycott of the company, led by state Sen. Barry Finegold, who represents the district in which Tewksbury headquarters are located.
He said that as of Monday, 37 state lawmakers and mayors had agreed to encourage constituents to stop shopping at Market Basket until Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated.
Demoulas was fired last month by a board controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.
Both are grandsons of the chain’s founder and their feud dates back decades.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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