Employees and unusually loyal customers of New England supermarket chain Market Basket have taken sides in a corporate power struggle via work slowdowns, protests, and boycotts, leaving shelves and stores empty—and parking lots filled with rabble-rousing.
From the Boston Globe:
At the cramped Somerville store, where a typical weekend shopping trip means circling for a parking space, weaving through cart-clogged aisles, and waiting in long lines to pay, the parking lot and store were nearly empty Saturday. A group of about 25 employees and customers led chants on the sidewalk out front.
The scene was similar inside the Chelsea store, where the typical torrent of weekend shoppers had dwindled to a trickle. A few shoppers pushed carts through mostly deserted aisles, scouring half-empty shelves. Checkout lines consisted of just one or two customers.
The firing of popular Market Basket President Arthur T. Demoulas in June pushed many employees to protest by striking or refusing to carry out regular tasks; irate customers joined in by boycotting the store and joining employee rallies.
Demoulas was ousted by a group led by his cousin—also named Arthur Demoulas. The cousin is Arthur S. Demoulas, and as this Globe article recounts, their feud goes back decades; the two Arthurs' fathers used to run the company together.
A lot of empty shelves at the Market Basket in Biddeford Maine. pic.twitter.com/rF9UNkGJED— WBZ NewsRadio (@wbznewsradio) July 19, 2014
Arthur T. has made an offer to buy back control of the 71-store chain, and its board of directors is currently considering the offer, which may be in the neighborhood of $3 billion.