They brought lawn chairs, tents, beach balls and signs and stayed out on the heat for hours chanting “Bring back Artie T.”
Thousands of Market Basket employees and customers held another large rally on Tuesday in front of a store in Tewksbury. The protests began about three weeks ago when workers began demanding the company reinstate ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
“You know the outsiders pretending to be Market Basket CEOs? They threaten to fire people, they’re withholding pay and benefits because we assemble today to express our concerns on the future of Market Basket,” said David McLean a Market Basket operations manager who resigned shortly after Demoulas was ousted. “They’ve created a hostile and toxic work environment.”
Market Basket operates 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, including locations in Somerville, Chelsea, Reading, Woburn and Brockton. The lack of deliveries since the protests have led to barren shelves in many of the stores.
The company said employees should return to work by Monday or risk losing their jobs, according to the Globe.
However, employees at Tuesday’s rally said they aren’t in fear of their jobs. They said they come to the rallies on their time off and continue to show up at their stores for their shifts, although they admitted there’s less and less to do in recent days.
“It’s confusing because we’re working every day,” said Larry Collins, who started working at the Reading Market Basket just four months ago and had a day off on Tuesday. “If you walk [into a store] you’ll see us helping the little old ladies out to the cars, helping the handicapped, we’re still stocking the shelves with the little bit that we have. We’re ready. We’re just waiting for the trucks to roll and that won’t happen without Artie T.”
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.