Market Basket Customers Rallied in Tewksbury Saturday Evening

Tewksbury, MA - 08/16/14: Market Basket customers hold a rally outside of the Tewksbury store on August 16, 2014. (Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe)
Market Basket customers hold a rally outside of the Tewksbury store on August 16.
Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

A rally held outside one of Market Basket’s Tewksbury stores Saturday night drew hundreds of customers. Their goal: to emphasize that they are boycotting the company in support of the grocery chain’s workers and in protest of the firing of former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

The rally was organized by customers on social media. Employees were among those in the crowd at Saturday evening’s rally, though The Boston Globe’s Jack Newsham reported they comprised a minority of the total crowd, which he estimated at several hundred. Noel Gordon, one of the people most active in organizing it on Facebook, is the wife of fired Market Basket management-level worker, Tom Gordon.

Previous rallies over the course of this summer’s protest movement have been geared toward workers, though many customers and some vendors have also participated. Those rallies have drawn as many as 10,000 people.

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Customers have also been active in voicing their support of the protest movement on social media, and have previously raised money for a full-page advertisement critical of the company’s management in The Lowell Sun.

The Save Market Basket Facebook page, which has served as an organizing voice for the protest movement, praised the customer-held rally, saying it was important for boycotting customers’ message to be heard. Their post read in part:

If there was one message that was delivered loud and clear tonight it was DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE US! We know these people (ed.: current management and the board of directors) have underestimated the associates many many times and each time we have made them look foolish, if they choose to underestimate YOU our beloved customers then the demise of Market Basket cannot be far behind.

Customers and employees have protested the firing of Arthur T. Demoulas this summer, with an organized boycott and a partial work stoppage going into effect more than four weeks ago. Arthur T. Demoulas was fired on June 23, following decades of infighting between him and his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. The two rival sides of the Demoulas family own the company together. Arthur T.’s side of the family is negotiating to buy the rest of the company from Arthur S.’s side.