Market Basket's co-chief executives announced Monday they will accept applications from internal candidates via email, saying the move was designed to allow people to apply without "intimidation and harassment."
Monday is the executives' deadline for employees to resume their jobs or be replaced. A job fair announced last week specifically advertised hiring for store managers and certain corporate positions.
The job fair is to begin Monday at 4 p.m. at the warehouse in Andover on Ballardvale Street. Monday and Tuesday was set aside for internal candidates to apply, while Wednesday, from noon until 8, was for external candidates.
"We have heard from many associates who are interested in applying for internal positions, but are concerned for their safety if they attend the scheduled job fair," co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and James Gooch said in the statement. "In response to their concerns, we are making available an email address to which associates can apply."
Protesting employees have said they do not intend to apply for the positions, which they say are not open. Store managers and other store employees have been reporting to work as scheduled, managers and employees said.
Warehouse and many corporate headquarters employees have not gone to work in more than two weeks.
Dozens of employees have picketed the two entrances to headquarters for the last week and more than 100 others protest nearby, though no violence has been reported.
"We understand this statement will likely generate incoming email not appropriate for this purpose, but feel associates interested in opportunity should be given an opportunity without fear of intimidation and harassment," Thornton and Gooch said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the work stoppage at headquarters and the three warehouses, and the customer and employee boycott at the 71 Market Basket stores entered its third week with employees appearing to remain defiant in the face of threats to their jobs.
The worker revolt in response to the company board of directors fired Arthur T. Demoulas as CEO.
More than 100 people picketed and protested outside the company's Tewksbury headquarters Monday morning.
Steve Garabedian of Methuen, a warehouse worker with six children, said he was worried, "But you keep going. We're making a difference."
Barbara Paquette of Billerica is an accounts payable supervisor in the corporate office. She said of the about 200 people from that office there maybe are five regular people there with a "bunch of temps."
She said the temps "don't know what to do."
At the North Andover store near the Lawrence line there were about 20 people picketing at two entrances to the market plaza.
Rosa Pereira, a deli manager at the North Andover store, said she has been protesting only on her own time. "That is what we need to do to get this company moving," she said about employee demand that Arthur T. Demoulas be returned as CEO.
She said she is "not scared at all" about the demand to return to work.
"I'm going to quit anyways if Arthur T. doesn't come back," Pereira said.
Robert Rhind, bakery manager at the North Andover store, said he has only been picketing on his time off. He said there is not much to do at work except cleaning shelves because no trucks are coming in to make deliveries.
He called the return to work order a "scare tactic" and that he wasn't "falling for it."
He said the customers have been amazing in their support of the boycott.
Check back at eagletribune.com for updates on this story throughout the day. Look in tomorrow's Eagle-Tribune for full coverage of the day's events.
Reporter Sara Brown contributed to this report.
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