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Market Basket workers plan 'final' rally as CEOs respond

Demoulas Super Market workers calling for the reinstatement of deposed president Arthur T. Demoulas say they will stage a “final” rally Friday outside of a Tewksbury, Mass. Market Basket store.

The rally, announced on social media Wednesday, precedes a scheduled meeting of the company’s board of directors, set for late Friday afternoon in Boston. It was not clear whether the board would address worker demands that Demoulas, who was fired in June, be reinstated.

Workers have staged demonstrations at several stores and called for a customer boycott of Market Basket since a self-imposed deadline to reinstate Demoulas last week came and went without resolution. Drivers and warehouse workers have used sick days and vacation days, resulting in low inventory conditions and out-of-stocks at many stores, sources told SN.

As previously reported, the demonstrations led to at least eight workers being fired over the weekend. Demoulas since called for their return, prompting the following statement from Market Basket co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch, issued late Tuesday:

“We share many of the sentiments that Arthur T. Demoulas articulated in his statement. The success of Market Basket and the loyalty of both its associates and customers is indeed the result of the dedication and hard work of thousands, from all ranks of the company. Our cashiers and store associates are as important as senior executives.

“The individuals who were terminated took significant actions that harmed the company and therefore compromised Market Basket’s ability to be there for our customers. We took the difficult step of termination only after we saw no alternative. We are committed to continuing the tradition of excellence and dedication that has been built over several decades. We strongly encourage all associates to return their focus to Market Basket’s customers, their needs and expectations. We understand the strain and emotion facing Market Basket associates. We know and understand that trust and acceptance are earned and cannot be demanded or imposed. We are committed to earning the trust and acceptance of our associates and Market Basket’s customers and hope that our associates will judge us not on our promises, but on our actions as we move forward.”

Workers affiliated under the We Are Market Basket group in a social media post Wednesday said they intended for the rally Friday to be the largest since the worker actions began July 18. One worker sympathetic to the cause, meat supervisor Scott Patenaude, told SN Wednesday that he expected worker action could continue if the board doesn’t meet demands.

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