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Following the reported firing over the weekend of eight employees of Tewksbury, Mass.-based Demoulas Supermarkets, which operates Market Basket stores across New England, a Care2 petition demanding that ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas be reinstated has been posted online, garnering so far more than 12,000 signatures. The goal is to collect 13,000 names.
According to the petition, which was started by Market Basket customer Mary Giacobbe, Arthur T. Demoulas’ “community of employers as well as customers are going to be highly affected by this loss. … [H]e has maintained and dedicated himself to keeping prices affordable, and now employees and customers are standing by to see his replacements threaten their jobs.”
The petition adds that Arthur T. Demoulas "is an example to one who gives much back to the community in these hard times, has accommodated the elderly, disabled, lower-income shoppers, jobs for youth, and [the employees] want him back. Many fear soaring prices and loss of jobs as we fight to have them reinstate him."
After his ouster last month, Demoulas Supermarkets' board of directors hired Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch as co-CEOs. The move was part of a long tug of war for control of the company between Arthur T. Demoulas and his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.
Among those terminated were employees who had worked for the company for decades, according to Boston.com, which reported that the firings came in the wake of worker actions that resulted in stalled deliveries and limited store inventories.
At a July 17 rally in support of Arthur T. Demoulas, employees said they planned to stall deliveries until he is reinstated. Meanwhile, 17 state lawmakers have signed a letter urging a boycott of Market Basket stores and expressing their support for the chain's workers.
Progressive Grocer has written extensively on the current situation at Market Basket, after having been contacted by former employees similarly concerned about the company's future direction.