Friday I attended the Protest at the Market Basket in Tewksbury that you might have heard of on the NBC nightly news yesterday.
I got to the event at 10 but even during the post rush hour time of the event the The Traffic on 495 was impossible and when I arrived at the event I had to park a 1/2 mile away (off of the map shown on the Save Market Basket Facebook page.
I pretty much started interviewing people as I moved forward.
There were people leaving early because of commitments and new people coming and I kept interviewing them.
I eventually got to the crowd and boy it was BIG
I extended the monopod and to a pan of the crowd:
I saw a Tea Party fellow with a flag and interviewed him.
Followed by a warehouse worker, they have taken the biggest hit from this work action.
There were many speakers:
They stood next to a stuffed Giraffe symbolizing “sticking your neck out” and the podium is the back of a large pickup truck
Which has been their makeshift platform.
The Petition that last speaker mentioned were in a tent next to the truck
There was a wide variety of speakers, here is a sample
I worked my way to the back of the crowd. There is a series of tent at the back where people were set up with water for people. While in that tent I spoke to a fellow from Jeff Kuhner show.
At the end of this interview there was suddenly a surge of people to a truck near K-Mart
It was Pizza from Dominos that had been purchased anonymously
When I got back to the tent it was pointed out that other local business had also supported the protesters
But back to the protest proper, the workers sticking out their necks vary between short term workers like Chris
To long term workers like Ken
Though this is a labor issue the workers have rejected unionizing although some Unions have shown support
(It’s not often you get unions and tea party guys on the same side.)
What has been very conspicuous has been the lack of support from the biggest democrats in the state, the congressional delegation including the senators like Elizabeth Warren have been silent as has Gov Patrick but I found one Democrat primary candidate at the rally.
Mr Devine’s presence highlights the people who have stayed away. There was however a lot of pride in those who backed them including state senators & reps (like my own Steve DiNatale D-Fitchburg) who have been public in this support but as I walked behind the podium again I got the feeling these people & their families would remember who was with them and who was against them.
Near noon they started packing up
And cleaning up
I gave a brief summary of what I saw
and as I was leaving I interviewed one last person who worked at the store where the protest took place.
At this point my wife and I went across the street to the
Ray Kroc Memorial Journalistic Filing center McDonalds were I plugged in and put up a quick post. At the location we talked to several of the protesters and customers who with a single exception expressed sympathy with the work action. A few McDonalds workers also mentioned seeing Arthur T on occasion and vouched for the good nature of Mr. Arthur T.
One Hanniford employee who came back seemed to suggest that some of the Market Basket customers who have flocked to the store during the work action have expressed annoyance with the action but the think I found most amazing was being told by protesters was how many people where totally unaware of what is going on even though it’s been all over the news and the protesters where very visible.
That frankly is, in my opinion, Arthur S’ biggest advantage.
In closing I can’t see Mr. S. accepting any offer from Mr. T. If this was about money & success his cousin would still be doing day to day operations. From Arthur S. perspective his side of the family feels cheated, they eventually won in court only to see on of his side of the family switch, then he finally gets the company and there is a workers revolt causing him to retain his Cousin in charge. Then when he finally seemingly gets rid of him, the entire workforce revolts.
I think he’d burn the company to the ground before selling out, if the workers are going to win it’s going to have to mean one of the other shareholders will have to decide it just isn’t worth it.
Let’s hope for the best