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After Outcry, Bull Moose Re-hires Fired Salem Workers, With Apology & Pay Raises

The Bull Moose record store chain is apologizing, re-hiring workers and promising pay raises after controversy over the sudden closure of its Salem location last month.

The staff of the Salem store was fired in May after raising concerns about the end of the company’s mask requirement for customers. They also said they’d been routinely harassed and threatened by patrons with little help from their managers.

Now, Bull Moose is apologizing for how the situation was handled. In a statement posted on social media, founder Brett Wickard said the company failed to uphold its values and “must take responsibility for that.”

“We are sorry that we did not act anywhere near how we want to be as a company. We pride ourselves on building community and acting with empathy, yet we failed on both those counts,” he said. “Falling flat on our faces was humbling – but we’re determined to have our mistakes become a transformative event for Bull Moose.”

The statement says the company offered the Salem store staffers their jobs back, with back pay, and most accepted. It also says Bull Moose, which is based in Maine and has three New Hampshire stores, will increase pay rates to work toward a $15 minimum wage at all its locations by next June.

Workers expressed mixed feelings about returning to the Salem store.

“It's huge that other stores are getting the pay raise and that we have control over the mask policy,” said one worker, Andrew Bove. But he said the year timeline for those pay raises is slower than they’d wanted, and the back pay process has been “really messy.”

Coworker Kameron Moore said he and most other workers decided to return to Salem “in hopes of doing more work from the inside than we can do from the outside.”

“We want to make sure that [Bull Moose] holds to the promises they have made, and push them to do it quicker and more efficiently so that they don’t lose more faith from employees and customers,” Moore said.

Bull Moose also sells books, movies, games and art at its stores. An early employee helped create the now-international Record Store Day, which has happened annually since 2008.  

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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