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Pickets, barren shelves greet shoppers at Market Basket

BURLINGTON -- Outside the Market Basket store here, protesting workers -- as well as a few customers -- held signs and gathered signatures on a petition supporting Arthur T. Demoulas, the ousted chief executive of the grocery store chain.

“We’re just trying to get the message out that the company should reinstate Arthur T.,” said Dylan Broza, an assistant manager at the store who was sitting in the plaza with an “MB Strong” sign.

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Carolyn Signoretti, a bagger at the store for four years, agreed. “We’re just trying to get [customers] to support us and sign the petition.”

Thirty-five Beacon Hill lawmakers have signed a letter calling for a boycott of the 71 Market Basket stores in the region. Thousands of customers and others have signed petitions calling for the reinstatement of Arthur T. Demoulas after the board of directors of the company, controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, fired him last month and replaced him with co-chief executives from outside the family business.

Inside the store, business continued as usual for a Monday afternoon, with customers browsing the aisles. The produce shelves were barren, and the meat racks were mostly empty as deliveries from the chain’s warehouse were unavailable.

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Jane Pigott, a regular Market Basket customer, did not need groceries Monday while visiting the shopping plaza, but stopped by the picket line anyway. “I shop here all the time, I’m just not shopping today,” she said. “I’m happy to sign the petition.”

Below is an image from social media on the scene at Market Basket in Haverhill.

Below is an image of a pin worn by a protester at the rally in Tewksbury. Why the giraffe? “We’re not afraid to stick our necks out,” the protester said.

Nina Joy Godlewski can be reached at nina.godlewski@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @NinaJGodlewski.
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