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Meet the Market Basket protesters

Fired Demoulas executive Steve Paulenka addresses a rally of employees, customers, and their families in Tewksbury.

Dina Rudick/Globe staff/file

Fired Demoulas executive Steve Paulenka addresses a rally of employees, customers, and their families in Tewksbury.

The uprising at Market Basket in support of ousted company president Arthur T. Demoulas is anything but a typical labor dispute. The protests are led by middle managers with decades of experience in the grocery business and little exposure to mass movements, political protest, or the finer points of social media. Yet they have managed to galvanize thousands of workers and customers to support their cause. Here are a few of the more prominent protesters:

LEADERS

Steve Paulenka

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File

Paulenka

One of the eight Market Basket executives who was fired July 20 for inciting the protest movement to restore Arthur T. Demoulas to the top job at the grocery chain, Paulenka was facilities and operations supervisor at the company. Paulenka has been the public face of the protest movement, serving as master of ceremonies at the large rallies in Tewksbury and speaking with the media. He has been with Market Basket for 40 years, and fully recognizes the magnitude of the revolt he ignited.

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“We’re a crazy bunch,” Paulenka told the Globe on July 16, as he and other executives publicly bucked their bosses and called for the reinstatement of Arthur T. Demoulas. “If this was a poker game, we just went all in.”

Tom Gordon

A grocery supervisor with 39 years at the supermarket chain. “They can’t run this company without the team at headquarters,” Gordon told the Globe before he was fired. “You take one down, you get the 25,000 behind us.”

Jim Lacourse

A buyer who worked for the company for 30 years before he was fired.

Market Basket executives (from left) Jim Lacourse, Steve Paulenka, Diane Belanger, and Tom Gordon discuss their planned protest at company headquarters in Tewksbury on July 15.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File

Market Basket executives (from left) Jim Lacourse, Steve Paulenka, Diane Belanger, and Tom Gordon discuss their planned protest at company headquarters in Tewksbury on July 15.

INFLUENTIAL WORKERS

The Garon family

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The father, R. Joseph Garon, is buyer at the chain’s headquarters with 49 years at Market Basket. One son, Joe, is a dairy manager at the Salem Market Basket, and another son, John, is front-end manager at the Burlington store. John Garon has worked at Market Basket for more than a decade and has spoken at several of the rallies.

Burlington Market Basket managers (from left): assistant director Sean Dwyer, dairy manager Steve Bond, store director Mark Gouthier, assistant store director Kevin Ralls, meat manager Scott Patenaud, merchandising manager Peter Morris, assistant store director Tony Lissaki, and front-end manager John Garon.

Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe/File

Burlington Market Basket managers (from left): assistant director Sean Dwyer, dairy manager Steve Bond, store director Mark Gouthier, assistant store director Kevin Ralls, meat manager Scott Patenaud, merchandising manager Peter Morris, assistant store director Tony Lissaki, and front-end manager John Garon.

Tom Trainor

A distribution supervisor with 41 years at the company. “We do this every day until he comes back,” Trainor said at the first rally. Trainor was among the eight executives fired July 20.

Dean Joyce

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Joyce.

The first executive fired by the new management, Joyce, a warehouse supervisor, encouraged his employees to stay off the job and makes sure they are acknowledged at the rallies. Joyce has been with the company for 34 years. “Without us nothing happens,” Joyce said.

Andy Lien

Manager of an Andover warehouse for perishable products who also has helped encouraged his employees to stay away from work and interrupt the delivery of supplies to the stores. “We do hope for an end, real, real soon so we can get these guys back to work,” he said.

Bennie DiNardo can be reached at bennie.dinardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bdinardo.
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