NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) – A decades-long family feud has escalated into a region-wide protest, and – as evidenced by barren shelves and empty storage closets – it has officially reached southern New England.
Protests and rallies have been held at Market Basket locations across New England since eight longtime employees were fired last Friday after they helped organized support for the company’s recently fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
Demoulas was fired by a board controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. Both men are grandsons of the chain’s founder, and their feud – according to an Associated Press report – dates back decades.
Demoulas’ firing has sparked a massive protest involving thousands of employees. The region-wide protest has has resulted in empty shelves and locked doors at many of Market Basket’s 71 locations across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
Locally, the rally has reached New Bedford – where the Market’s Basket’s typically stocked back cooler was completely barren on Tuesday.
“We all love our CEO,” Market Basket employee Kathy Staines told Eyewitness News on Tuesday. “I spend 60 hours a week here. This is our home. I’m not giving it up for anybody.”
Staines is one of many Market Basket employees who is using her allotted vacation days to rally against the company’s board. Bill Clark, the New Bedford location’s store director, the shelves will remain empty until “Arthur T” is reinstated.
“We’re sticking up for the customer,” Clark said. “We’re sticking up for the prices.”
In addition to the company’s employees, local lawmakers have joined the fight. Led by Mass. state Sen. Barry Finegold, who represents the district in which Market Basket’s Tewsbury headquarters are located, 37 state lawmakers and mayors have agreed to encourage constituents to stop shopping at Market Basket until Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated.
“This guy is genuine,” Clark said of the former CEO. “He’s a good guy, and good guys win.”