Class War in Progress: The Market Basket family feud and related worker revolt

Photo courtesy Market Basket.

Photo courtesy Market Basket.

Market Basket, a regional supermarket chain in New England, is the subject of a long-running, seemingly ever-escalating conflict. The Boston Globe has comprehensive coverage here, and Boing Boing reader MikeTheBard shares background on the story in this BBS thread.

Here's the situation:

Market Basket, a New England supermarket chain that Consumer Reports named the 6th best in the country, has been all over the news in the Northeast for the last couple months.

After a long family feud, the majority stockholders fired their cousin, longtime CEO Arthur T DeMoulas. He had built the business on low prices, high wages, and ZERO company debt- All employees get profit sharing and a livable wage, and many have been with the company 20, 30, even 50 years.

Arthur T. was replaced with the former president of Radio Shack, with an evident goal of strip mining the wealth from the company--raising prices, cutting benefits, loading up with debt, and selling off real estate--in order to pay out higher stock dividends to the controlling shareholders.

The employees revolted. Top executives walked off the job and picketed in front of headquarters. Employees from managers to baggers are using their vacation time to protest outside stores. 68 out of 71 managers have pledged to quit unless Artie T is reinstated or allowed to purchase the remaining 51% of the family-owned company. Deliveries have stopped and twitter is full of photos of completely bare shelves. The board has responded with termination letters and threats.

PLEASE, PLEASE take a look at some of the links I've provided in the thread. This is the working class fighting back, and it looks like they will either win, or make sure EVERYBODY loses equally.

"Class War in Progress- Market Basket Update," and more info in this previous thread. [Boing Boing BBS]

Notable Replies

  1. The United States need more class war. It is a great country, full of hard working, honest and creative people. It is sad and incomprehensible the widening gap between the struggling middle class and the rising elites.

    Go workers! Unite and fight. Defend your rights. Not only the right to bear arms, but one way more important: the Right to Dignity. The right to a fair wage, an affordable healthcare and quality education for your children.

  2. Yeah- The owners are all multimillionaires at this point, which is why it's so infuriating that they want to go the "squeeze every last penny" route.

    It's just that I can't remember ever hearing of another time when the workers replied by doing their best to take the company down with them before it could happen. People are outraged enough and we're getting enough regional politicians involved that I think the ASD side of the family will be considered poison to anyone looking at business or political opportunities. EVERYBODY agrees that the company was doing great up until this point.

    I really, really hope that their name ends up being forever whispered as part of a cautionary tale.

  3. I was going to say that we need a new "Mother Jones", but I like Lucy Parsons' spunk a bit more:
    From Utah Phillips Shoot or Stab Them "song":
    “One time, she was speaking at a big May Day rally back in the Haymarket in the middle 1930s during The Depression. She was incredibly old. She was led carefully up to the rostrum, a multitude of people there. She had her hair tied back in a tight white bun, her face a mass of deeply incised lines, deep-set beady black eyes. She was the image of everybody’s great-grandmother. She hunched over that podium, hawk-like, and fixed that multitude with those beady black eyes, and said: “What I want is for every greasy grimy tramp to arm himself with a knife or a gun and stationing himself at the doorways of the rich shoot or stab them as they come out.”
  4. Arthur T. was replaced with the former president of Radio Shack

    Real life outstrips The Onion yet again.

  5. This says volumes. I wouldn't even trust the business acumen of anyone who had shopped at a Radio Shack in the last 20 years.

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