Market Basket, a family-owned company founded on principles of quality, low prices, and excellent customer service, fell victim to a long-running family feud last year which resulted in board room shake-ups and the ouster of beloved CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
Under Arthur T. Demoulas, the company opened stores and created jobs in lower income areas during a recession, while maintaining the lowest grocery prices in the region. He is famous for his hands-on approach to management and frequently visited the chain’s 70+ stores, chatting with managers, associates, and customers.
Although they risk termination, most of the company’s 25,000 employees, from top executives to part-time cashiers and baggers, have publicly declared their allegiance to Arthur T. Demoulas, affectionately known as “Artie T.” or “Mr. D.”
After the new management team refused to address concerns regarding Artie T’s removal, associates, vendors, customers, and even Massachusetts lawmakers banded together to send the board and the new CEOs a strong message about loyalty to their Market Basket “family” through boycotts, rallies, and petitions.
On July 20th, at least eight more high-level associates from the corporate office were fired via a letter delivered to them by courier. The eight highly respected associates lost had a combined 280 years of experience with the company.
Associates maintain that they are fighting not just for themselves and their co-workers, but for customers as well, many of whom have fixed or low incomes and rely on Market Basket’s low prices, including its unprecedented 4% off promotion which is slated to last through the end of the year.
The Board of Directors first drew anger from associates and customers after it voted itself a $300 million payout to share holders from money intended for new stores, some of which were already under construction. The delays in opening those stores have prompted legal action from the towns in which they are located.
Market Basket associates, who are non-unionized, enjoy some of the best benefits in the business including multiple yearly bonuses and profit sharing for both full- and part-time employees. Rallies held by associates have drawn attention from industry analysts who say such organization among non-unionized employees is unprecedented.
15. “We’re in the people business first, and the food business second. If we get the first part right, we’re 80% there.” -Arthur T. Demoulas
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