Day one of Market Basket’s job fair did not seem to turn out many current employees looking to change positions within the company. Dozens of protesters marched back and forth across the entrance to the company’s Andover facility, continuing the remarkable worker and customer protest into its third week. At one point a shuttle bus brought in fresh protesters, who took a shift on the picket line as grateful protesters handed off signs and pictures to them.
Few vehicles took the left turn into the facility’s parking lot. Those that did were met with leers and jeers from the crowd, which quickly followed police orders whenever a car did come through.
“I don’t think anyone will show up,” said Mike, a North Andover Market basket employee who declined to give his last name for fear of retribution from the company. “Most of us believe this is a scare tactic to get us back to work.”
Monday and Tuesday’s job fairs are geared toward current Market Basket employees who want to move up or change jobs within the company. A third job fair, scheduled for Wednesday, targets non-employees who may want a job with the besieged supermarket chain.
“There’s no union. There is no security for these people that are out here,” said Michael Bouchie, a Market Basket customer who joined Monday’s protest outside the job fair.
Market Basket’s current management team issued a statement last week imploring workers to come back to work by Aug. 4 or risk losing their jobs. They also placed an ad announcing the job fairs in multiple newspapers. That led to torrid fundraising by employees and customers, who used the funds raised to run ads of their own in the Lowell Sun and Lawrence Eagle-Tribune.
The protests and job fair come just one day after ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas and the company’s board of directors released statements through their respective public relations firms. In his statement, Arthur T. offered to resume running the 71-store supermarket chain as the board mulled his offer to purchase their shares of the company. issued later Sunday night, the board’s statement did not answer Arthur T.’s missive directly, but reaffirmed their commitment to current co-CEO’s Felicia Thornton and James Gooch. The board also restated their contention that they had multiple offers for the company on the table.
Mike from the North Andover Market Basket wasn’t so sure other buyers were still in the picture.
“I don’t think they have any other options.” he said. “If you were a businessman, would you try to buy a company that’s going through this?
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Market Basket’s current management said interested parties could email their resumes if they felt intimidated by the protesters.
The statement read in full:
We have heard from many associates who are interested in applying for internal positrons, but are concerned for their safety if they attend the scheduled Job Fair. In response to their concerns, we are making available an email address to which associates can apply. Any associate interested should send a copy of their resume to email@example.com.
We understand this statement will likely generate incoming email not appropriate for this purpose, but feel associates interested in opportunity should be given an opportunity without fear of intimidation and harassment
A fifth major rally is planned for Tuesday in Tewksbury.