Market Basket CEOs Issue Ultimatum: Back to Work or Lose Your Job

Market Basket Co-CEOs James Gooch and Felicia Thornton issued a statement today regarding employee-led protests and rallies crippling the 71-store grocery chain in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

Their joint statement issues an ultimatum demanding protesting employees return to work by Monday, August 4th. They state those that don’t could run the risk of losing their jobs.

“We understand that some associates may choose not to return, consequently we will begin advertising for employment opportunities,” the statement reads in part.

Market Basket executives have even doubled down on their ultimatum issued in Wednesday’s statement. The Eagle Tribune, a regional newspaper based in the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts, confirms that Market Basket has purchased a full-page ad in Thursday’s paper advertising both a job fair next week and open management positions in their Eastern Mass. and New Hampshire stores.

The ad buy appears to be a preemptive move on Market Basket’s part in anticipation of disruptive protests continuing into next week.

For the past two weeks, Market Basket executives have been embroiled in a standoff with employees loyal to recently-ousted former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Thousands of employees have rallied at stores throughout the region and delivery drivers have ceased operations, Market Basket shelves bare.

Market Basket Empty Produce Aisles
Photo credit: Keiko Zoll

Market Basket protests
Photo credit: Keiko Zoll

Employees in support of Arthur T. Demoulas have urged a customer boycott, leading desperate shoppers to head to competing grocery stores such as Shaw’s, Star Market, and Stop N’ Shop.

There’s no doubt these two weeks of protests have affected Market Basket’s bottom line, but the company for now appears willing to do whatever it takes to restore operations and regain control of their brand.

The statement reads in full, below:

“We want Market Basket associates back to work and reiterate that they can return without fear of penalty. We again acknowledge and understand how difficult this situation has been for associates. However, we also need to have associates working to support stores, customers and vendors. We need associates to return to work on Monday August 4th. We understand that some associates may choose not to return, consequently we will begin advertising for employment opportunities. Our hope and strong preference is to have Market Basket’s incredible associates return to work. Again, any associate that wants to return will be welcomed and not penalized.”

What do you think about the Market Basket feud between execs and employees?

Share your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned here for updates on as this situation develops.

Consumer Expert Keiko Zoll

Keiko Zoll is a mom, writer, geek, women's health advocate and all-around sassypants. She writes for Disney Baby and You can find her all over the social web, usually Instagramming and Pinning into the wee hours of the morning.