On Aug. 7 the Boston Globe reported that the parent company of Hannaford Bros. Co. supermarkets as “emerged as a serious bidder” for Market Basket, a competing food market chain that has been immobilized by a top-level family feud over the past several weeks that has resulted in profit loss, employee discontent and consumer boycotts.
As this new development unfolded, word from various other news outlets via Twitter suggested that a massive layoff of part-time employees was in the works.
#MarketBasket statement: “Store directors were not instructed to lay off associates, but to adjust hours to meet current demand.”
WBZ-TV out of Boston reported the following statement was released by a Market Basket spokesperson:
“The CEOs have said they would welcome back all associates in an effort to return to full operations for the benefit of Market Basket’s customers, associates, vendors and communities. Toward that end, they have told Store Directors to receive deliveries and stock their shelves. Standard company practice is that Store Directors are responsible for determining appropriate staffing levels in their stores. Store Directors were not instructed to lay off associates, but to adjust hours to meet current demand. It is our hope that we will be back to normal business levels in the not too distant future and all associates will be back to a full schedule.”
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan issued the following statement on reports that next week Market Basket managers have been instructed to cut or eliminate hours for part-time workers:
“We estimate nearly 8,000 people work part time at almost 30 Market Basket stores in New Hampshire. Market Basket is important to our state’s economy and plays a critical role in our communities for both employees and consumers, providing fair living wages to its employees and affordable products to its customers. I have been heartened by the support I have seen across New Hampshire for this New England tradition and by the value New Hampshire citizens place on their neighbors being treated and paid fairly.
“The reports about these reductions in hours are incredibly troubling, as many of these dedicated employees have been showing up for work and clearly value the company’s past, present and future. New Hampshire Employment Security has worked with store managers to ensure that affected employees know about available resources. Many employees, depending on their hours and individual circumstances, are likely eligible for unemployment benefits. We encourage employees to apply online for unemployment benefits, but I know that nothing can compare to the security of a job.
“While this may be a private business dispute, it is having a significant financial impact on New Hampshire – on our families, consumers, farmers and other vendors – and it will create new costs for the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund. I continue to urge Market Basket leadership to listen to the concerns of their employees and customers and reach a constructive resolution in order to keep these dedicated workers employed and reduce the impact on consumers.”
Market Basket employs nearly 9,500 people in total in New Hampshire.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley posted this FAQ based on calls from Market Basket employees to their state-run hotline, including this phone number for New Hampshire unemployment information: 1-800-266-2252.