In a bitter family feud, the board of directors pushed out the beloved CEO, whose loyal workers have now walked out in protest. It’s an amazing story of support by the employees of the super market chain for a boss that is loved and respected and has treated them very well.
Arthur T. Demoulas was replaced in June by a board now controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, a rival heir to the company which was started as a single store built by their Greek immigrant grandparents in 1916.
Under Arthur T.’s stewardship, employees have been relatively well-compensated. Manager pay often climbs above six figures after years of service. Cashiers with experience can make over $40,000, and full-time clerks start at $12 an hour. In Massachusetts, the minimum wage is currently $8 an hour. Market Basket also pays 19,000 of its workers yearly bonuses, plus invests the equivalent of 15 percent of every paycheck into a retirement plan. At the same time, the company is impressively profitable. Shareholders have pocketed in excess of $1 billion since 2000.
Losses are now over 10 million a day, and the demonstrating employees have won a huge amount of public support from the affected shoppers. Although the stores remain open, the only activity the stores are seeing is from some shoppers who were loyal to Market Basket, they come to bring their receipts from the other supermarkets where they have just done their shopping and attach them to the store windows.
Arthur T. Demoulas this week has offered to buy out the chain, but there's been no word yet if the Board of Directors will entertain the offer. The only statement that the company has made is, if workers do not go back to work by Monday they will be terminated.
If Arthur T. fails in his attempt to buy the company back, and Cousin Arthur S. who booted him, sells out to a conglomerate as expected, then the writing will be on the wall for yet another family owned companies. Sell out to the conglomerate; they forget that middle class and livable wage. Low paying jobs are the norm and unchecked wealth for those at the top are expected. That has become the new working model in America. There still are some Arthur T. left that have power and can make a positive difference, and they are far and few between.
Market Basket rang in $4.6 billion in revenue last year, and is the 127th biggest privately owned company in America. They have 71 stores with some 25,000 employees throughout the Northeast.