The popular CEO of Boston grocery chain Market Basket was just fired, and workers are furious.
Demoulas’ cousin allegedly gained control of the board and replaced him with two executives outside the family, Jim Gooch and Felicia Thornton.
Demoulas was so popular, that thousands of employees immediately revolted. Dozens of politicians have also asked shoppers to boycott the store until Demoulas is re-hired.
More than 2,500 workers and supporters attended a protest over the weekend, leading to a crisis in stores.
Why are workers so devoted to Demoulas?
According to Boston.com, workers currently receive great benefits — including profit-sharing. Those protesting are worried that the new managers will threaten their current benefits and pay.
Demoulas also has a friendly demeanor that has made him popular with workers.
“He’s the only boss I’ve ever known,” one worker told The Boston Globe. “He’s a gentleman, he’s a human being, he’s part of your family. That’s what he makes you feel like…It’s like losing a family member.”
“He has maintained and dedicated himself to keeping prices affordable and now employees and customers are standing by to see his replacements threaten their jobs,” according to a petition asking for his return.
Workers are halting deliveries until Demoulas is reinstated, writes Adam Vaccaro at Boston.com. Several Market Basket Stores have signs apologizing for the thin inventory.
While the grocery store tried to hire replacement drivers, “it is unclear how many deliveries were made over the weekend and how stores handled them.”
As a result of the protests, Market Basket has fired eight workers.
One of the workers, Tom Trainor, wrote on the protestors’ Facebook page that he was fired by courier after 41 years with the company.
“I was fighting for my MB family, for Arthur T Demoulas a man that I have tremendous respect, loyalty and admiration for,” Trainor writes. “A man that I would run through a wall for, I have no regrets, I would do it all over again”
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