Speedway to Market Basket: 'Be Our Guest'
LOUDON, N.H. - With the hopes of boosting morale for the thousands of Market Basket employees, who are struggling amidst an unprecedented fight for control of the company, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is inviting workers to attend the SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR race on Sept. 21 for free.
A limited number of tickets are being set aside for Market Basket workers who want to attend, but given the current circumstances with reduced hours and impending layoffs might not be able to afford to purchase tickets. Free Friday and Saturday tickets will also be available for those employees who cannot attend on Sunday.
"These men and women are the people who have taken care of all of New England on weekends, and right now, their lives are upside down," explains Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of NHMS. "So in the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, we want to offer to host the Market Basket employees so they can put aside the challenges they face and enjoy a day at the races."
NHMS is spreading the word publicly to ensure workers know about the available tickets. Gappens is extending a personal invitation to Arthur T. Demoulas to be his guest for the race as well.
"We want to offer Artie T. and his workers a chance to get away from the picket lines for a little while and spend time together away from the stress of the current situation," says Gappens.
Tickets for the SYLVANIA 300 will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The speedway is working with Market Basket store managers in New Hampshire to spread the word and help distribute the tickets to employees. Michael LeClair, general manager of Tilton Store 59, will help oversee the ticket distribution.
"This is an incredibly generous donation, and it comes at a time when our workers don't have a lot to smile about," says LeClair. "I know for a fact that many of Market Basket's workers are huge race fans, and without these free tickets, they wouldn't be able to afford to go to the race this fall."
NHMS is pleased to see the latest developments in the media that suggest a resolution to this conflict may be coming to an end. Regardless of the outcome, it is obvious that workers have had to make major changes to their own lives and lifestyles. So no matter what happens with the negotiations, this offer stands for employees who want to come to the race in September.
Gappens says this gesture is not about taking sides in a battle between the board of directors and the employees of Market Basket.
"There are no winners when these people are out of work, when the store shelves are empty, when the Demoulas family is fighting for control of the company, and when shoppers are forced to go elsewhere," says Gappens. "We have all read the headlines of the ripple effect this fight is having on businesses and families throughout the region. It's a sad time for everyone involved. I know this is not a solution to the problem, but if it gives workers a chance to forget about the challenges for a day and escape into the fun of auto racing, then thatis our goal."
Market Basket workers will be contacted by store managers to notify them about the tickets, which will be made available for a limited time. This offer is extended to the employees of Market Basket in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.