Clamsplainer: Market Basket Is Freakin’ Out

We left off yesterday’s post about the Basket case at the end of the kerfluffle spanning the ’90s with the stripper, the fraud, and the blackmail. Seriously, go read that part if you haven’t, but don’t come after me for migraine pills, I used them all up writing it.

So what does Market Basket’s checkered family past have to do with what’s going on today, and why the hell doesn’t the Basket have any salad fixings at all?


Nothin’ left but some melons and an artistically placed Gloucester Clam sticker, naturally.

You may recall that yesterday, I explained that Mike’s son, Arthur T Demoulas, was involved with his father’s legal team and the whole “secret recordings” and “blackmail a court employee” debacle. He’s the center of today’s fight, having just been ousted as CEO. It’s complicated. Of course. Like everything else involving the name “Demoulas”.

Anyway, after the lawsuits of the ’90s into the ’00s shake out, the judge forces Mike’s side of the family to give up 51% of Market Basket to George’s side. Mike’s side of the family lost the lawsuits pretty soundly – it’s hard to excuse flagrant fraud, forgery, and hiding assets from your family.

Back in early 2008, Market Basket’s board votes Arthur T Demoulas in as CEO. He is by all accounts a pretty reasonable guy who is hell-bent on treating his employees like family. Or, better than family, seeing as how the Demoulas family has beaten up and defrauded each other for decades now and OSHA and the Department of Labor aren’t keen on doing that to produce clerks.

Artie D is so reasonable that during the economic downturn, his profit-sharing employee account loses $46m in a quarter and he REPLACES THOSE FUNDS with his own company’s profits so his employees don’t suffer. This is relatively unheard of -all investment is risky, after all, and most people in America lost money from pensions or 401ks in 2008. This move majorly pisses off his cousins on George’s side of the family, who like things like “profits” and whatnot.

For five years, Arthur T Demoulas, despite his side of the family’s past shady and questionable tactics, is a beloved CEO to his workers. He is described as an affable, friendly, and humble leader. He pays well, employees have good health insurance. Workers trust him and are fervently loyal to him.

But in the summer of 2013, Arthur T’s cousin, George’s son Arthur S Demoulas, gains control of Market Basket’s board and calls a vote to oust Arthur T amid claims and a lawsuit that alleged he mismanaged the company, engaged in improper business deals with companies owned by his wife and her family, and withheld important information from the board. Meanwhile, Arthur S’s side has long been painted as interested in as much money as possible from their holdings (which explains their anger at Arthur T’s profit-sharing fund placement), without putting in the elbow grease Mike’s family did. This move was seen as a way for George’s side of the family to get dividends from their stock.

There was a massive outpouring of support for Arthur T Demoulas  – employees who had been at Market Basket for decades showed up for the board meeting and stood outside in August heat to support him. During the meeting, the board didn’t oust him, and he saved his job – for a bit. But Arthur S continued to push for his cousin’s dismissal.

Finally, late last month, Arthur T Demoulas was fired as CEO and replaced by a former Radio Shack executive named Jim Gooch (holding back laughter at unfortunate last name there) and Felicia Thorton, former executive at Albertson’s. A few upper level executives were also fired at the same time.

And then the shit hit the fucking fan.  

CAT'S OUT OF THE BAG NOW! haha get it

CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG NOW! haha get it

Remember when I said his employees were fiercely loyal? Well, because unions have fallen out of favor in the states, Market Basket’s employees aren’t unionized. They have no recourse if the new board, in order to boost profits (remember those dividends Arthur S’s family lusted after?), slashes their benefits and profit sharing. Many employees have been with the company for decades – the company is known for promoting from within. They knew that Arthur S’s takeover of the board spelled the end of employee-friendly policies as they knew it, and they were PISSED.

The board couldn’t have predicted the intensity of what came next.  Despite the lack of union, workers started protesting. They threatened to walk off the job if the board didn’t reinstate Arthur T – putting their own blue-collar jobs on the line for one of the state’s richest men. Last Friday, the murmurs of work disruption boiled over into a full-scale revolt – warehouse and store workers showed up at the company’s headquarters to protest despite warnings they’d lose their jobs, meaning Market Basket’s deliveries ground to a screeching halt. It has spiraled from there. Eight workers who organized the protests – supply chain supervisors with the company for 30 or 40 years in some cases – have been fired via a courier service. This has only served to fan the flames. Yesterday, the protests moved to store branches – here in Gloucester, a protest outside the Gloucester Crossing Market Basket grew despite the searing heat.

Protesters outside Gloucester Crossing, 7/21

Protesters outside Gloucester Crossing, 7/21

The protesters here in Gloucester, at least yesterday, are mostly younger folks. Kids for whom Market Basket was their first job. Single moms brought toddlers. My blog partner Jim showed up this afternoon, ostensibly to buy supplies for frittatas and organic beet salad, and instead grabbed some photos and video of the hoopla.

[wpvideo tOODaXOC]

Think about this. It isn’t exactly the Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902, but how often do you see a worker action these days? And one not looking for higher wages or increased benefits, but one in favor of a company leader who the workers felt treated them decently. Here are young people taking a stand for something that is important to them and being pretty goddamned polite and articulate about it. They are risking their jobs. These are kids who are working because they need to, either saving for college or helping out their own families. Their jobs are massively important to them, but doing what they believe is the right thing is more important.

And local politicians are behind them. At last count, 19 local lawmakers had signed a statement in support of boycotting Market Basket. That’s a pretty good gauge of the seriousness of the situation – Market Basket hasn’t done anything illegal or even morally reprehensible, but it’s that serious that Martha Coakley has stood up and supported the workers’ demands to reinstate the CEO.

It’s a pretty engaging situation to be sure, and where it develops from here is anyone’s guess. It’s unlikely Arthur T will be reinstated, but Market Basket’s completely lost control of the situation. Someone get the popcorn and let’s all watch the schadenfreude.

Oh fuck, they sold out of popcorn.

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  1. Thank you for cutting through the BS on this story!

  2. Sounds like Market Basket employees need a union.

  3. Sounds like they’re doing just fine without one.

    • Except people got fired for standing up and picketing, and the current employees still end up with less benefits.

    • But….

      Market Basket employees are paid less than their (unionized) Stop & Shop colleagues.

      Market Basket employees have lesser benefits than their (unionized) Stop & Shop colleagues.

      Market Basket employees are less likely to receive benefits than their (unionized) Stop & Shop colleagues.

      Market Basket employees are more likely to be shifted from full time to part time than their (unionized) Stop & Shop colleagues.

      Market Basket employees are more likely to be fired for their protests than their (unionized) Stop & Shop colleagues. You did read about the 8 employees who were fired this week?

      Or is this just a generic anti-union comment?

      • MarketBasketCustomer

        You give no link to data supporting your assertion that SS employees are better off then MB employees, so we have no way to know if what you say is true. What I am sure of is that those fired employees were upper management which means they would not have been protected by a union contract. Which leads me to doubt the accuracy of all your other points.

        To KT Toomey: Great article!

      • From what I’ve heard, Market Basket pays more and offers better benefits than most other grocery stores. Hence the intense employee loyalty.

      • Stop and Shop seems to be closing a lot of locations while Market Basket is opening new stores all over the place, especially here in NH.

      • I would love to know if you know the numbers. Because i sure as hell don’t.


        Market Basket employees may be paid less hourly but surely aren’t paid less overall. Bonus are a huge portion of pay, and there are many throughout the year. These are given to all employees who have been with the company for about a year. They come out for Christmas, spring and for the past few years randomly throughout.They help give incentive to those who want to work to work. Its a steady good job for anyone who wants to work and do work.

        Market Basket employees have lesser benefits is not completely true. They have a great plan and pay significantly less than a lot of other employers. They have also been known to help employees when situations have happened. Whether it was at work or not.

        Market Basket employees who are part-time can not get benefits. Anyone who is full-time and above has benefits.

        Market Basket employees are more likely to be shifted from full time to part can be true. Want to know why? Because they can’t perform the job properly. That is it. It’s why customer service is so important at Market Basket. You need to have good workers for a good place to shop.

        Market Basket employees are more likely to be fired for their protests than unionized colleagues can be true. It can’t be true when all the workers throughout all the stores standing up for what they believe is the right way.

        I don’t disagree with unions. I do support them. I just think you have a weak argument.

        • Not true at all about the quality of workers shifted to part time. It has happened to wonderful workers who later were made full time and then climbed the ladder to assistant manager. I know of a few.

      • I believe all but one Stop & Shop in NH closed within the last year. Whatever they were doing, it ended up not working out for their employees in the long run anyway.

      • Unions are just another big business. Starting out as an avenue to set safety/time standards and fair wages, the course has changed completely. In my opinion only, being able to talk directly to my Manager is key. Within the Union, I couldn’t do that. I still need to pay my dues, regardless of my employement status.

        I support these non-union workers and will continue to boycott Market Basket. Market Basket is a staple of my community. Employing high school students, the handicABLE and the elderly. A group of hard working individuals who have become a family.

      • And how does the profit sharing of stop & shop stack up to the multi six figure accounts some of my buddies are sittin’ on who have been at MB for 30 years?

      • That’s why Stop and Shop’s prices are outrageously high.

  4. This 2-parter was a super informative (and even fun) read. Thanks for breaking it all down while speaking the MB language (SAWDUST!). When you say “It isn’t exactly the Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902, but how often do you see a worker action these days?” that’s exactly what grabs me the most about this whole thing, and makes me admire the blue collar MB family. Way to make some waves for what you believe in! Good stuff.

  5. Clameditors note: We have noticed more and more comments starting to take a personally vindictive tone and we’re not posting them even if the point the person is making is correct. Even though your The Clam is the lair of the snarkmonster, we’re not having that in the comments and we’ll burn the whole comments section to the ground before it becomes one of those insult swamps.

    Disagree with someone? Great. Do so politely.


  6. Went down to MB earlier today with my family not to buy anything–though it is our supermarket of choice–but to show solidarity, to teach my kids about the power of collective action, and to get some pictures for my rhetoric and argument class at GHS. While there I was proud to see many of my former GHS students picketing and soliciting petition signatures. Among other things I hope all of this leads to a robust and rational consideration of the stabilizing role unions can play in a community in response to business volatility. Thank you to the protesters for providing an example of participatory democracy and to KT for providing some deep context for the current situation.

  7. As a former Masshole, now living in TX, I had to look for this article after seeing the boycott pages etc.. On Facebook. I too seem to be one of few that remembers the family feud that started in the 90’s! On the one hand it seems Artie T. has made up for his past exploits, but I guess Karma does not forgive! What’s sad is how the employees and customers will lose either way!

  8. I hope this hits home with all those businesses that treat their employees like garbage (I’m especially looking at you, Walmart). When your employees finally summon the courage to speak out en mass, you are going to be in for a world of hurt.

    • the employees are not being treated like garbage, thats the part people are missing. People are standing behind Author T. because he is a good person not because they are treated poorly. Business is to make money and under Author T. peoples jobs were saved thanks to him flipping the bill. But now board members want their money. Lets be honest if you owned a business are you in it to make money or not?

      • I don’t think the point was that the employees are being treated like garbage. It’s that they WILL be treated like garbage soon. One of the biggest reasons for MB’s success is that it holds ZERO debt, which is unheard of. The board wants to now take on $1.5 BILLION in new debt to distribute to the shareholders. Where does the money come from to pay for that debt? From cutting the employee benefits and from raising prices. Suddenly, you’ve alienated the two groups – employees and customers – who are responsible for the success of the company. That changes the business model of MB enormously, and suddenly it’s just another Stop & Shop.
        And, yes, while folks are certainly in business to make money, there’s PLENTY of money being made at MB. In 2012 their operating margin was at 7.2, much higher than most other grocery store chains, and profits that year were $217 million. Those may not be Walmart numbers, but, honestly, how much is enough?? Particularly when your solution to that not being “enough” is to take from people needier than you, the very people who create those profits in the first place?

  9. Good for you Ed!

  10. Very interesting story, my home town is Lowell and I remember back when all the feuding began, trouble I see with all of this is first of all Arthur T is a rich man, the folks walking out are middle income or earn much less, secondly folks we are still in a recession, jobs are hard to come by, why risk it? These folks walking out are doing so out of fear of the unknown mostly fueled by Arthur T and pressure from their co workers. A lot of companies still being hit hard and a lot are cutting back on what they give the employee, is it fair, absolutely not but hell they own the company, not us. Can’t wait to see how this all plays out, hope they don’t take him back otherwise it is like punishing your kid and taking away his toys for doing something wrong but then giving it all back, crazy shit for sure, thanks for enlightening me

    • I hope they DO take him back so YOU & EVERYONE ELSE doesn’t have to pay higher prices. Don’t you like a choice of where to shop, or do you like the same thing-big box supermarkets that charge overly inflated prices? Market Basket is a completely different kind of store. Visible managers (they were red coats for a reason), open cashiers with few people in line, variety on the shelves, helpful workers who are stalking shelves IN EVERY AISLE (try to find that at Shaws or Hannafords). Ya, I think I will stick with MB when they get this mess straightened out.

    • Fair? No. And while “they” do own the company, consumers are increasingly the ones who can make change happen – consider the massive social media campaigns aimed at Target (ha!) and Starbucks to get them to change their gun policies(!). Both efforts were successful.
      Like a lot of things in this economy, it is downright shameful that boards and shareholders would seek to strip employees of their ability to keep their heads above water in order to maintain what amounts to nickles and dimes in the pockets of the rich.

    • scoutvintagefinds

      Why risk it? Principle. It *is* risky to stand up for what you believe. And people rarely bow to “peer pressure” when their livelihood is at stake; if those employees are staging protests & sick-ins, it’s because they feel those things might affect change. Incidentally, I drove up to MB last night to get a few things – having truly forgotten about the “kerfuffle” – and was a) reminded by those protesters to drive on by; b) pleased to see only about 5 cars in the parking lot. A few minutes later, at Stop & Shop, a fellow shopper was stopped by her friend and asked what she was doing there. She replied that she didn’t want to support MB until they sort things out. Action matters, even at the most basic level.

    • The “unknown mostly fueled by Arthur T.” ?! Have you been paying attention to who the new co-ceo’s are (hired by Arthur S.)? They are the reason we fear the changes to come. Their specialty is to bring down companies and make as much money as possible doing it.
      We want Arthur T. back because he has proven himself as a great leader that takes care of his business and his associates. He has earned our repect and loyalty. This is why we “risk it”. It has never been about him being rich and us not. In fact, this isn’t about money (for us) at all. Just leave things the way they were. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. The BOD were getting richer every day and the customers and associates were happy with the promise of expansions. Now it’s all gone. For now…

    • I think this misses the point. Sure, Arthur T. is a “nice guy.” But people aren’t walking out on their jobs because he’s nice. They’re walking out because, as a nice guy, he put in place policies that made these people love their jobs, made them feel valuable, made them feel like they had futures. How many other Americans feel that way about their jobs? These people are protesting because they DO value their jobs, and know they’re not going to have the same job satisfaction or success with Gooch and Thorton in charge.
      As for not wanting them to give Arthur T. his position back, I don’t understand you. You compare it to being like taking your kid’s toys away when he does something wrong, then giving them back to him. But… what did Arthur T. do wrong?

  11. KT if I did not know better I would have thought you were an English major. Well done!

  12. Excellent article – very informative and fun to read. Great job!!!!

  13. Excellent write up. Its great to see something well written when most articles are just current stuff with no context.
    These people are taking a stand. You don’t see non union strikes and you never see strikes where the strikers aren’t looking for money or benefits. In a situation like this I find it absurd when a member of the public disagrees with these employees.
    Everyonr should support them. In fact tomorrow going to walk into a store get hired and then immediately join the protest.

  14. This strike is not only affecting market basket but also us farmers who ship produce into these stores! We are now being told we cannot ship to the main wharehouse, because workers are protesting! What are we to do with produce that is now ready to be shipped! This situation will have fallout on all levels!

    • Wow, that’s pretty insane and unfair to people like you! Sorry to hear it.

    • for one I stopped at Wally’s farm stand three times since Sat. I hope others will too!!!

    • Can we buy directly from your farm? Where are you located? My family are market basket customers, in support of what they are doing. I guess one way to support them is to try to help the suppliers stay in business too.

  15. We are a long time bread vendor to Market Basket. Our MB sales will be way down [ usually $80,000 down to less then $10,000]. My guess is we’ll have more then $20,000 in returned product. So sales will be more then minus $10,000.
    However our problems are nothing compared to the 20,000+ not making a paycheck this week. We have heard dozens of stories like the following – per my wife:
    “This afternoon I spoke with the wife of a Market Basket employee who works in
    the warehouse, she said her husband showed up for work on Monday and was told
    go home, showed up for work today and was told to come back on Friday . These
    people bought a house from me this past April and he is the sole bread winner in
    this family, they are very afraid of the future.”

    I’d guess most will qualify for unemployment insurance. If those lawmakers who say they support the employees are worth a damn then they will get the process to collect expedited. Have any of them thought to do that? MB employees always keep the register lines going fast. They do not deserve what awaits them . Tomorrow I’ll go check the office in Lowell.

    The MB board of directors will meet on Friday . Hopefully something can be worked out to get the stores back to normal.

    PS: Great articles.

  16. Are you aware that The Consumerist on FB links to your two-part analysis of the feud? Congrats!

  17. I think you’ve got the Arties confused above, and who wouldnt with this crazy saga. I only mention it because many people are linking to this post on FB. Artie S is mikes son and was involved in the shady activities. George- a good guy, died of heart attack- Artie T’s father, family defrauded by artie S after Georges death.

    • No, other way around. The ousted CEO was Mikes son.

      • In March 2006, Boston magazine rated the late George’s son, Arthur S. Demoulas, as Boston’s eighth wealthiest person, with assets of $1.6 billion.[4] He was not listed in the Forbes 2008 edition. In early 2008, the board of directors elected Mike’s son Arthur T. Demoulas president of the corporation.

  18. My favorite line is the last one about the popcorn! Hilarious! Thanks for the great recap of the shit show of a situation. You have a new follower.

  19. You left out a key part that Arthur s and company are looking to sell the company to a company based out of Arizona…could this be an additional reason politicians are signing this…?

  20. I have shopped exclusively at MB for 20 years. I live in New Hampshire and people bypass grocery stores that are close to their homes in order to shop at MB. Many of the kids in our community have held jobs there… and when we ( my neighbors all shop there too!), we NOTICE the atmosphere. Workers are friendly, happy and helpful. We see faces for decades … it is not just a large and fairly priced grocery store, it is a part of our community and a boon to our small town. Now, in support of the workers at Market Basket, I am driving in to Concord – 20 minutes away, to shop. I sincerely hope that I will not have to do this forever, but I am committed to supporting this company the way it has been. I’m not looking forward to making a longer drive, but, between farmers markets I will do it for as long as necessary!

  21. Seems like Market Basket doesn’t have any facts or statistics to support their position. Just a lot of double talk.

  22. Pingback: Will’s front teeth |

  23. This is actually a perfect example of what America as a whole is missing! Arthur Demoulas is what America once stood for. Employers who valued their employees to the point of treating them like family. As well as employees from different generations standing up for GOOD! America is so messed up and full of greed, it is refreshing to see people put their deserving boss ahead of the almighty dollar. Yes, some have been fired but, let’s take a minute to realize that those who were fired show they have values and morals as to what is good. They will be even more valuable to Arthur should he be able to return. Plus it usually wouldn’t look so great on your job application but, in this case it would show these people sacrificed their job to stand up for their boss and company. That’s a reliable employee. Though I am saddened because for yrs I have wanted a Market Basket closer to where we live and one has been being built near us and was scheduled to open late summer. At the same time it is nice to see not only employees but, shoppers don’t want pretenders of having Arthurs values and would raise prices and not value their employees. They would be about the money and themselves.

    • ” Arthur Demoulas is what America once stood for. Employers who valued their employees to the point of treating them like family. ”

      That’s a generous characterization.

      A less generous characterization of this theme: the paternalistic boss who “loves” his employees and “gives” them everything, who is personally hurt when his “friends” that he has “taken care of” decide to unionize.

      The modern apotheosis of this trope is Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers:

      “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”


      Donald Sterling believes that the owners are the NBA, and not the players.

      It may be the case that the Demoulas family treats its employees well. It appears to be the case that Arther Demoulas is a well-thought-of boss.

      But it is also the case that Market Basket employees are not unionized, and thus are wholly dependent on the company’s good will for their pay, benefits, and job security.

      If Arthur Demoulas and the MB leadership truly had the values you ascribe to them, they would encourage their employees to organize into labor unions. That would create an equal playing field for management and workers, under which nobody would have to depend on the kindness of strangers.

      • worthyofcensure

        I hope I’m not just one of 4 or 5 people who agree with your perspective. Seemingly, people love to hate i) rich, controlling CEOs, and ii) labor unions. And Arty T. seems to be the one kind of person many *can* love while sustaining their ordinary dislikes. It is the perfect fairy book story that seems to offer a third way. But, as you point out, Arty T’s way is a thin reed upon which to rest corporate compassion, depending as it does on the good will and tenure of the man in charge.

        This isn’t meant to take anything away from the workers’ protest and goals–Cheers to them and confusion to the MB board! It is to say that the Demoulas model only offers a particular and partial vision of what decent corporate citizenship on a large scale looks like. It doesn’t offer any serious vision of how to get there. If you like the MB model, you need to (re)think how necessary is the role of unions for moving towards widespread adoption of the benefits of such a model. You can’t really love values at the heart of the protest while disregarding the essential role that unions play in advancing labor rights and well-being.

  24. Can someone post the names of the Board of Directors?

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  26. The issue I see with this plight, (which is indeed extremely inspirational) is nothing has actually changed for employees or the company at this point. IE: Their benefits/pay haven’t been changed & the company hasn’t announced plans to sell. I am not saying those things can’t or won’t happen, but from an outsider’s perspective looking in, you’re asking solely for a CEO to be re-instated because you don’t approve of the new one and/or SPECULATE that bad changes are sure to come. If what you’re seeking actually happens, that would set quite a precedent for not only MB, but all companies in the future. Also, what happens when at some point ATD falls too ill to work, dies or retires & it’s not the BOD’s choice or fault. Then what? You can’t get ATD back, so a replacement is necessary no matter what. Will the employees all stop work unless they can all vote on a new CEO at that point?
    I’m not knocking the passion, commitment or dedication but I think the demand is just too far off base to make sense from a business perspective.
    Hopefully some agreeable medium can be reached soon but I don’t think it will be what is being asked unfortunately.
    Again, I applaud the huge response & banding together of everyone involved, but wish there was a more defined cause for it for business considerations, because the decision makers put business first & people second unfortunately.

    • Thank you Max, Someone finally addressed the Elephant in the room..I have read the articles and can not find the documented changes that will take place in the absence of the all mighty ” Artie T.” Also , I do not understand how someone who is said to be all knowing would allow and encourage this response. He is 49% owner of the company being destroyed. The hate that exists in this family has spilled over and now many are stuck in it’s quicksand. I hope that the answer comes soon.

  27. I need food, but I’ve been going to Market Basket for at least 20 years. Since my cupboards are full, I probably won’ starve. Just don’t have things like MB milk, MB bread, MB bagels, MB ice cream, etc. If I’m perfectly happy with the taste of MB brands, why would I want to pay a whole lot more at some other store?

  28. Anyone living in the Merrimac Valley knows what happened to the old Western Electric/Lucent Tech – the union for the employees put them out of business – along with bad management decisions. Don’t feel unionization is an answer. May have been necessary 100 years ago, not now.

  29. I think its wonderful that the employees are standing up to their beloved leader. Its a crying shame that greed fuels these corporation’s. Shame on the company and the workers should unionize. Unions look out for the employees and they make sure that wrongs are righted. I hope market basket learns from this that spending a little on your employees goes along way on improving the business as a whole.

  30. First time seeing your blog. A Facebook friend had this story on her page, she doesn’t even live close to New England, so I read it, and enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you for sharing with us!!

  31. From what I have heard from insider(s) is that one of the shareholders, Rafaela(sp?) Evans, expressed a desire to get out of business and switched her allegiance from Arthur T. to Arthur S. This is how Arthur S. gained control of the Board of Directors. It seems as though Arthur S. is taking advantage of this situation to settle some scores with Arthur T., while scoring a little more scratch in the process. This should scare employees. Arthur S. seems to have no loyalty to them and appears to crave money and revenge. He hasn’t spoken publicly, so we don’t really know.

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  33. It must be an election year…are politicians coming out for their “people” or for “votes”. It’s a private company, they built it ( including the mess). I wonder if the pols would feel same with Microsoft if it were based in MA.
    Don’t get me wrong, I do applaud the workers for sticking together.

  34. Concerted activity is protected, whether unionized or not. Also, those managers would not have been allowed in a union so it’s not an issue. Unions would contribute nothing here in the employees interest and would probably weaken support from the public. It does seem that fear of the unknown is driving all of this. It is a real shit show for sure…..self destruction in slow motion. Thanks for the great articles…exactly what was missing from any media coverage I have seen…background and perspective.

  35. Reading from out in the Hawaiian Islands here.. Mahalo for your July 21st article on this crisis, KT Toomey.. Clamsplainer: “Market Basket’s Storied History of Crazy” and the follow up.. “Market Basket Is Freakin’ Out”.. It’s serious but the way you ‘splained with outrageous humor made it easier to understand for someone who knew nothing about it.

    Kinda like Jon Stewart does for his audience only in cyberspace. 🙂

  36. What an unfortunate situation to all involved. Yet what a great story of an owner/CEO taking care of the company’s employees and sharing of profits as mentioned in the article in the down and tumultuous years (I’m assuming caused by the financial crisis) where company, CEO, and employees stuck together to support one another.

    I, like many who have replied on this thread, shop at MB. My family not only shops there for the great prices, but to support of the great and friendly workers, friendly environment and community association MB has created. You simply do not find this in any other grocery store located in the Seacoast today, which there are many, and frankly I’m amazed that they remain in business.

    This story reminds me of a similar story which dates back to the 90’s when a Lawrence, MA based company called Malden Mills existed, yet tragically burnt to the ground. Then the company’s Chairman/CEO, Aaron Fuerstein, did all he could to support his employees (totaling more than 1000) during the many months the factory was non-operational, and ultimately having to declare bankruptcy. Even through chapter 11 Fuerstein’s stood by his pledge to support the company’s employees and through the harsh winter months. His generosity and support grabbed national news and headlines even sparked interest from the folks in Hollywood. Politicians came running in to support Malden and the CEO (mostly for media attention).

    Needless to say another positive story of a company’s Chairman putting it’s employees before profits.

  37. Having worked for a unionized grocery store for 13 years, they’re not missing out on anything. In out, the union wouldn’t have fought for the positions lost because this isn’t a union approved protest.

  38. Great story! We live in California and my husband worked for a grocery chain for 16 1/2 years before they let him go. Yes they are union, no the union did not do a damn thing to save my husband’s job. $11,000 of union dues and nothing to show for it. The grocery chain’s owner is retiring and has brought in a upper crust from Albertsons who is “cleaning house.” The company used to be great to work for, but as the years have gone by employee faith has waivered. Kudos to the Market Basket employees for taking a stand. Good luck and remember whatever you do DO NOT GO UNION!!!

  39. Two great articles, thanks. We are hearing about this even in the hills of Vermont! I think the answer to the Union/no Union vs bosses/management problem is Worker Owned Cooperatives. In that case, everyone shares in profits and decision making instead of only a few getting rich and controlling the jobs of so many.

  40. Fantastic articles! I always thought the split between Demoulas & MB was a divorce settlement. Sad to say…most divorces aren’t as ugly as this has been. Everyone loses…but the rich guys. Guess loyalty is truly a one way street in Market Basket land.

  41. Richard Henderson


  42. Spreading this fantastic story! May Artie T’s business model spread far and wide.

  43. I know I’m late to the party, but I just want to say bravo for these pieces on the Market Basket madness. When friends from out-of-state ask what it’s all about, I give them links to the gloucester clam.

    FWIW, I was in Danvers today, a Saturday morning, and the Market Basket parking lot was vacant. It was surreal. The only sounds were chanting protesters and the horns of passing cars, beeping in support.

    I can’t help but think Market Basket is hemorrhaging money every day. If a compromise isn’t reached, this company is going to suffer self-immolation. It’s a jaw dropping display of spite, avarice, and stupidity by the board.

  44. And those employees … well they are not only fighting for their CEO Arthur T. but they are fighting for the family atmosphere, and most importantly for the lower prices. Anyone who frequents MB knows compared to the other stores you get 15 bags of groceries to other NH chains about 8 . They are fighting for lower cost too. For the customer, and the MB customers are supporting the fight.

  45. Great insight of the story. This will help you understand further on why this shit is going down –

  46. The part left out of this is that while he might have taken millions to replace money in his employees 401 K plans. He was making hundreds of millions for the stock holders of Demoulas. He was also expanding stores into new locations and redoing some of the older stores all in cash, incurring no credit dept to the corporation. He wasn’t just a good employer. He was making big money and expanding the company. Thats what shows that his firing was personal. He was a really good CEO on all fronts. He has “worked for the corporation for over 40 years. The other side….nadda.

    • That’s right, Lorri! Let the truth be known! Prior to June 2014, Market Basket had no debt! Tell me what other companies can claim the same? This was because of Arthur T. and his management team!

    • Ding ding ding! I don’t know why no one else is bringing this point up. Thank you for writing it. Arthur T. wasn’t just a “nice guy” CEO to his employees – he was a successful CEO for the business and the shareholders as well.

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  51. Thx for the facts and humor

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