As many as 700 Market Basket employees received a letter from Co-CEOs James Gooch and Felicia Thorton stating that they have until Friday, August 15th to return to work or face losing their job.

The letter was delivered via FedEx and reads in part:

“If your role requires that you primarily work at the company’s headquarters or distribution facilities, you must return to such role ready to fulfill your duties by no later than Friday, August 15, 2014. Alternatively, if your job is based in the field, you are required to return to work and contact either of us prior to August 15 to review the work you are performing. Should you choose to ignore either of these directives, the company will consider you to have abandoned your job, thereby ending your employment with the company.”

Admins of the Save Market Basket Facebook page are outraged, as are dozens of supporters. Many have stated that they feel this letter is just one more tactic in a very public war of words being orchestrated by the public relations firm representing Market Basket.

Last Thursday, Market Basket store directors were ordered to slash nearly all of their part-time hours for store staff, leaving many without a paycheck because they have no hours to claim. Within hours, Market Basket execs were quick to clarify that it was not a layoff.

Now, with the future of 700 monthly and weekly salaried employees as well as hourly part-time associates uncertain, it appears as though Market Basket execs have no plans of offering any concessions to its employees’ demands to bring back ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

With sales tanking during this standoff, Market Basket Co-CEOs Gooch and Thornton are digging in their heels rather than their previous strategy of burying their heads in the sand.

As the situation stretches into its fourth week, it’s clear that this standoff is headed to some kind of resolution and in this moment, it looks like it might be at the expense of 700 jobs.

Stay tuned for continuing updates to this story.

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