Market Basket employees plan what they call a "major" rally at 11 a.m. Tuesday, following the first job fair held by the company, Monday, for existing Market Basket employees who wanted to apply for other newly available positions.

Before the job fair even began, Market Basket’s chief executive officers issued a statement saying they had created an email address for people to send in applications, because they’d heard from employees interested in applying for positions who were concerned for their safety.

The statement said people should have an opportunity to apply without "fear of intimidation or harassment.”

But outside the job fair, about a dozen police and more than 100 protestors never clashed.

“We’re very nice people," said one of the protesters, Market Basket executive Diane Callahan. "We don’t need all the policemen here, but it’s nice to see them. They're customers of ours.”

Callahan stopped to talk to one of the policemen and shook shook his hand before moving back into the circle of picketers.

“I was asking them was there another way in, because I’m in disbelief — there’s gotta be another way in, because no one has come," she said. "And he guaranteed me there was not another way in.”

Just a handful of cars turned into the short driveway before or during the job fair. The people inside laughed, waved, or resolutely looked straight ahead as they drove past the picketers and police, through a fence into a vast parking lot beyond. On the other side of the lot, in the distance, was a a long, squat building — a produce distribution center where Market Basket held the fair. Dozens of trucks were parked adjacent to the building, as if ready to be loaded. Callahan said it was an odd sight.

“Usually the trucks are on the road everyday," she said. "It’s a very busy environment. We send out probably 110 trucks a day of produce and perishable. And now look, the whole fleet is sitting there. That’s success, isn’t it?”

Protestors arrived in small buses to relieve those slowly walking in a circle at the end of the driveway. Behind the line of police, two men stood by the fence and aimed small videocameras at the picketers.

Market Basket truck driver Buddy Wenners assumed the men worked for Market Basket and heckled them with relish.

"Quick get your cameras up!" he said. "Quick! Let's go! Camera one, camera two, go, go, go!"

Wenners said the day was a success because employees hadn't buckled under pressure. Only a few Market Basket employees who had walked off the job heeded a call from the company's management to return by yesterday's deadline. As far as Wenners knows, no one’s been fired.

“We, from what I understand, we had two people cross the line," he said. "So now we’re up to maybe 12 or 14 that have crossed the line as far as warehouse. We saw them as we came out and we gave them our best wishes but they didn’t want to stop and talk.”

Even after it started raining, protesters continued tracing their small circle. Mary Lucas Gelinas' wet hair was pasted flat on her forehead. She said she’s been driving past other grocery stores to shop at Market Basket for 35 years.

“I'm soaking wet here," she said. "But it’s worth it — I’m 63 years old and I’m out here. So if I can be out here in the rain, other people should be too. I’m out here because I feel bad — all these people that I know. You know you go into market basket, you know everybody. So I feel bad for them."

Gelinas says she won’t go back to Market Basket until Arthur T. Demoulas is back as CEO. The Market Basket board of directors has been considering a buyout offer from Arthur T. for more than a week. He's offered to return and manage the company before a sale is completed. But the board of directors responded by reiterating its support for the current management team.

Meanwhile it seems competitors are standing by quietly, reaping business from displaced Market Basket customers. Community and regional newspapers reported they hadn't seen a huge uptick in advertising from other grocery stores trying to lure customers.

Roy Vallatini at the Eagle Tribune in North Andover says one grocery store client moved its ad from a preprinted insert to a more prominent place in the body of the newspaper. But that was the only one.

"I think a lot of them are waiting to see what happens," he said. "I know in one case they automatically did more business. And one grocer actually didn't want to add any more because they didn't know if they could handle it. So they didn't do any."

But Vallatini says many other grocery stores have called to inquire about ad pricing, possibly to prepare for stepping up their advertising. Some may make up their minds today, as employees hold their fourth rally in the dispute so far.