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Market Basket rejects former CEO's request to return, looking to replace disgruntled employees

As Market Basket enters its third week of employee unrest — a result of the board of directors firing Arthur T. Demoulas, now-former chief executive officer — James Gooch and Felicia Thornton, current co-CEOs, have started a three-day job fair to replace employees who have not returned to work.

The Aug. 4 deadline for employees to return to work, which coincided with the first day of the job fair, has passed without any reported firings.

Market Basket employees held a protest outside of the job fair, which was limited to current Market Basket employees for the first two days. Gooch and Thornton released a statement saying they had set up an email address to allow people to apply online since they had heard interested applicants were concerned for their safety.

Over the weekend Demoulas, who has an offer on the table to purchase the company, stated that he would come back to his role as CEO so that the company can return to normal while a deal is being worked on.

"Arthur T. Demoulas and his side of the family have been working around the clock to pursue their offer to buy the 50.5 percent of shares in DSM they do not own for a full and fair price," Justine Griffin, a spokeswoman for Arthur T. Demoulas, said in a written statement. "As part of his proposal, Arthur T. has also offered to move immediately to return to work in advance of the completion of the stock purchase and work to bring back his full team to stabilize and begin to restore the business."

"These steps are critical at this point and are in the best interests of associates, customers, vendors and shareholders," she said in the statement. "Time is of the essence. Arthur T. is hopeful but resolution depends on the response of the other shareholders in order for an agreement to be reached."

He was willing to return as soon as Aug. 3, but the board rejected the offer. A rally, attended by employees as well as customers, took place Aug. 5 at 11 a.m. in Tewksbury, MA.