TEWKSBURY -- Market Basket's management appears ready to move on without those employees who've said they refuse to work for anyone other than ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
The company announced Wednesday it will host three job fairs next week for multiple positions at Market Basket stores, including store directors, accountants and grocery buyers.
"We want Market Basket associates back to work and reiterate that they can return without fear of penalty," the company said in a statement. "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," management said.
Whether the job postings are an indication of what the company may expect from a potential sale of the company isn't clear. Many of the senior managers who've been fired or quit in recent weeks have held similar positions. Dozens of store managers have signed a petition saying they will not work for the company if Arthur T. isn't again in charge of the chain.
News of the job fairs came as a boycott of the grocery chain entered a 13th day, with stores running low on many items and almost completely empty of customers.
Market Basket's board of directors has said it is considering purchase offers from multiple bidders, including Arthur T.
"Our hope and strong preference is to have Market Basket's incredible associates return to work," Market Basket management said.
"Again, any associate that wants to return will be welcomed and not penalized."
A spokesman for the company said time is being set aside for existing Market Basket employees first, and that they will be given preference in promotions.
"Market Basket practice has always been to promote from within, and that practice will be continued," the spokesman said.
Employees dismissed the job fair, and no employees contacted by The Sun said they would apply for other positions in the company before Arthur T. is back.
"Absolutely not," said Bridge Street store Manager Andy Heggarty when asked if he thought current employees would go to the job fair. "We have too much trust and faith in Artie T."
One of Heggarty's employees, Emily, who did not want to provide her last name, said she won't be going. She has worked for the company for three years and has four other family members who work for Market Basket.
"Those jobs are meant for the people they were taken away from," Emily said. "They shouldn't just be giving them to someone else."
Other employees shared similar sentiments, wasting no time in saying they wouldn't attend the job fairs.
"Market Basket isn't just a supermarket, it's a family," said Gerri Yok, who was holding a sign outside the store where she works on Chelmsford Street in Chelmsford.
Scott Patenaude, a long-time employee and department manager, said the new CEO's clearly underestimate what goes into managing stores and even individual departments.
"No way on earth are they going to find a store manager off the street," Patenaude said. "The job is too busy, too stressful, and requires too many hours."
A website set up by employees, WeAreMarketBasket.com, referred to the new statement from management as a "threat," that once again shows how little the new CEO's know about the company.
The posting on WeAreMarketBasket.com was addressed to customers, who have also joined in the boycott.
"They are under the impression that if they get the stores full of product the customers will come back in droves," the posting states. "They either haven't been listening to you, our beloved customers, or they don't care."
The Monday and Tuesday job fairs will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., and the Wednesday fair from 1 to 8 p.m. All will be held at the company's information technology center at 340 Ballardvale St. in Andover.
The jobs being posted: store directors, assistant directors, accountants, accounts payable and receivable, and grocery and perishable buyers.
Meanwhile, at least one Market Basket competitor is looking for new added help during the Market Basket crisis. Hannaford posted permanent and temporary part-time positions at its Chelmsford store on Wednesday.
Hannaford said it will be holding a job fair Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel & Suites in Chelmsford.