Grassroots support high for ousted CEO

On Monday, a protest by thousands of supermarket workers in New England entered its fourth week. They want their ex-boss back. He was fired in June by new management -- led by his cousin of all people.

Store manager Brian Cassasa showed CBS News his nearly empty market basket store in Salem, N.H.

"This is about what the meat case looked like for two weeks now," he said. "We really had no meat, no poultry to speak of, and no fresh pork, either."

Hundreds of workers stopped resupplying Market Basket's 71 stores after their boss CEO Arthur T. Demoulas -- or Arthur T as they call him -- was fired by a new board of directors.

artiet03.jpg
Former Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas talks with company employee.
Marc Bernsau | Boston Business Journal

Market Basket employees benefited from profit sharing and college scholarship programs Arthur T helped create.

"There is no market basket without Arthur T. Demoulas. There is none," said former Market Basket worker Joe Garon.

Garon and Jim Lecourse helped organize the protests. They were fired in July.

It's rare in America today, that you see the rank and file, and consumers standing up for a CEO.

"Well Arthur is a human being, he's a person. He knows us by our first name. He knows our family members. If he walked into my office today, he'd be like, Jim how's Lisa doing? How's the family doing? It's not about what profits are you making," said Lecourse.

duthiers04.jpg
Market Basket workers protest the firing of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
CBS News

But the revolt and a customer boycott has caused a 90-percent drop in sales.

"The volume has decreased so much that managers are not able to give us hours," said Susan Berube, one of the protesting workers let go this week.

"My family depends on that paycheck to live, to survive," said Berube.

Market Basket's new board of directors declined our requests for an interview. They have not said why they fired Arthur Demoulas. But in a statement this weekend they said: "Two million customers should not be held hostage for a business deal between shareholders."

"Artie T has done so much for the community and for all the employees that work here, we just all stand behind him and want him back," insisted Susan Berube.

It just may not be in time to save their jobs.

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter