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Skull and Bones

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« : July 26, 2014, 08:51:50 AM »

 I not sure if this story has gotten a lot of national coverage but it's a big story up here in New England.  It involves a grocery store chain called Market Basket, which operates 71 store in Mass and Nh.  To give you some background on the company it started as a single store in Lowell, Ma about a 100 years ago by a Greek immigrant named Demoulas.  During the 1950-70s his two sons took over and grew the chain.  But when they died their heirs have been in a bitter dispute over control of the company.  One side took the other side to court claiming they were being cheating out of their cut and eventually won and were given a 51% share of the company.  During this time expansion of the chain stopped and many of their stores were outdated.  Since this decision the side that lost still had control of the company's board of directors and under Arthur T. Demoulas the chain started growing again and because they have some of the lowest grocery prices in the country they have absolutely been dominating the market up here.  Here in nh they forced the big chain Stop N Shop to pull out of the state and another big chain called Shaws has had to close many of their stores, do mass layoffs, etc and are barely hanging on.  I work for a major company that sells its products in grocery stores and I can tell you that even though MB gives us the least support and space their stores still sell 2 to 4 times what these other chains sell.  Their stores are crazy busy.  If it wasn't for their prices I wouldn't shop there because it's so crowded but I do because it saves me $50 or more a week.  walmart can't even beat their prices.  Anyways, very successful company over the last 10 years and they pay their employees well and keep them.  Well recently the other side of the family, under Arthur S. Demoulas has taken control of the board of directors and fired Arthur T. As the CEO and many of his key people.  It is believed he wants to sell the company or at least raise the prices and reduce the benefits to the employees.  Starting last week the 25,000 employees and all the management have organized a revolt against Arthur S., the BOD, and their new co CEOs, one a former Albertsons  exec. and one a former Radio Shack CEO.  I should note they aren't union and are not asking for better pay/benefits.  All they are demanding is that Arthur T. Be reinstated as the head of the company.  They have staged mass rallys in the thousands, they have been picketing in front of their stores and asking customers to boycott shopping there and sign petitions.  Their drivers have been refusing to deliver their shipments to the stores and now they are pretty much empty.  Despite threats and some more firings of higher ups involved in the protest it has continued.  Over 100,000 customers have sign their petition vowing to never shop there again unless Arthur T. Is brought back and even the local politicians seem to be behind the employees.  Well a few days ago Arthur  T. made an offer to buy his cousin out and the board met yesterday on it.  However since Arthur T.  wasnt  reinstated yesterday and all they said was they would consider the offer along with any others the walk out will apparently continue.  This is unheard of in this country and we are seeing history being made with this. 
http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-80901376/

http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_26221515/market-basket-saga-crowds-grow
« : July 26, 2014, 12:21:46 PM Skull and Bones »


Skull and Bones

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« #1 : July 26, 2014, 08:53:09 AM »

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/25/market-basket-family-feud-grocery-massachusetts


Skull and Bones

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« #2 : July 26, 2014, 08:55:29 AM »

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20140724/NEWS02/140729536&template=mobileart


Kelly Thomas

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« #3 : July 26, 2014, 09:13:11 AM »

Ironic.. Just reading about this the other day.





Skull and Bones

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« #4 : July 26, 2014, 09:21:08 AM »

http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/market-basket-loyalty.html


Skull and Bones

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« #5 : July 26, 2014, 09:35:03 AM »

Well this whole thing is making my life miserable.  As a vendor I have a love/hate relationship with MB.  Like I said they don't play ball like all the other chains do and give us the least amount of support and space and they can be arseholes, but they do the business.  Its where you make your money.  But it sucks because trying to keep their shelves full and working in such a busy store is very difficult. Anyways, I've had market baskets in the past and I'm pretty much had enough of that stress.  For the last two years I've only had non MB stores.  The ones where no one shops.  It's like being semi retired but my quality of life is better.  Well this last week has been a living hell since all their customers are forced to shop at my stores and it doesn't look like things are going to revert back any time soon.
« : July 26, 2014, 12:23:24 PM Skull and Bones »


Bucman

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« #6 : July 26, 2014, 10:08:53 AM »

Which company do you work for?


Skull and Bones

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« #7 : July 26, 2014, 10:13:09 AM »

If you are the poster previously known as Legend, the same one you work for or use to.


Boid Fink

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« #8 : July 26, 2014, 04:08:48 PM »

Sorry to hear that. I am not familiar with the chain, nor the saga. But I am sorry to hear about that.

So whatever it is you do, is now making you more money but reducing the quality of life?  That sucks, because it was a deliberate choice you made and big business is screwing you over even when you aren't involved directly.


Bucman

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« #9 : July 27, 2014, 07:38:46 AM »

If you are the poster previously known as Legend, the same one you work for or use to.
Aw yup. I wish I could get into the RSR field, they never seem to be hiring for it and won't allow transfers because of the lame ass unions.


Skull and Bones

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« #10 : Today at 06:50:27 PM »

I thought you might be interested in the The Last Stand for the Middle Class Is Taking Place in a Parking Lot in Massachusetts - Esquire. You can view it at, http://www.esquire.com/_mobile/blogs/news/market-basket-fight?src=email


The Last Stand for the Middle Class Is Taking Place in a Parking Lot in Massachusetts
One supermarket proved it can provide employees with a livable wage, annual bonuses, and a retirement plan. They can beat Walmart's prices. They can turn a profit, too. So why was its CEO just forced out?
By Chris Faraone

JULY 29, 2014
45 Comments

By Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Americans have grown to accept that corporations will invariably take advantage of their low wage workers, and executives have done nothing recently to pretend like this isn't the case. When asked if his multinational beast would fight a federal hike in employee compensation, Walmart U.S. President Bill Simon told reporters in May, “We are not opposed to a minimum wage increase, unless it's directed exclusively at us.” Compassionate stuff.

It's a dangerously low bar set by the nation's largest retailer — don't expect your bosses to support an acceptable living wage for workers, let alone bonuses or a 401k, or even respect.

That's why, for those viewing from afar, the story of Market Basket — a Massachusetts company currently in the throes of a corporate overhaul — must seem completely unbelievable.

Here's the most unusual part: Protesting employees are demanding the return of their beloved CEO, ousted by a board focused solely on the bottom line. After store workers were fired for skipping shifts to rally outside Market Basket headquarters last week, their then-chief executive, Arthur T. Demoulas, said in a statement, “This is not about me. It is about the people who have proven their dedication over many years and should not have lost their jobs because of it.”

Now, after two weeks of letting produce rot and leaving shelves unstocked, the demonstrators and their growing army have won the support of everyone from disaffected shoppers to reporters all across the country.

But why does this matter to those ogling from outside New England?

Market Basket's formula proves that executives and managers and cashiers can all profit, together. Employees get the benefits of a 15 percent profit sharing plan provided by Market Basket, while the groceries the store sells are less expensive, on average, than Walmart's. As for the register: Market Basket rang in $4.6 billion in revenue last year, and is the 127th biggest privately owned company in America.

And it proves that none of this matters in the American economy if those at the top aren't getting more than enough. Executive pay is the only beast America's brand of the free market is designed to feed in 2014. CEOs made 331 times what an average worker made in 2013, and it's clear that there will be no exceptions.

The American economy no longer exists to support a thriving middle class, or to help the weakest among us attain a livable wage for an honest day's work. It is solely in existence to add to the pile of wealth for the unchecked at the top.

That's why it's gained traction in, of all places, the parking lots of a supermarket chain all throughout New England. If Arthur T. fails in his attempt to buy the company back, and the cousin who booted him sells out to a conglomerate as expected, there's a chance this grand experiment will disappear forever. It would become a bellwether for a corporate America that has created a caste for itself, where workers can only expect to be treated fairly until the rug they have made is eventually pulled out from beneath them.

If this is, in fact, the story of the beginning of the end for the American middle class, here's Part One.


Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The Backstory

The turmoil engulfing Market Basket did not start as a rallying cry for the dying American middle class. It is, in fact, only the latest theater in a complex multigenerational battle that's a better fit for HBO than it is for an economics textbook, and it’s been dutifully outlined every step of the way from local blogs to legal publications.

The original Demoulas family grocery opened in Lowell, about thirty miles northwest of Boston, in 1917. After building their business into a small empire, the founding couple, both Greek immigrants, sold the company to their sons, George and Telemachus Demoulas, in 1954. After George passed in 1971, Telemachus took charge, thereafter earning the increasing ire of George's son, Arthur S. Demoulas.

You can hardly blame the media for its fascination. The costly and perpetual lawsuit and appeals war between Demoulas factions is said to be one of the ugliest civil spats in state history, with the opposing sides now helmed by similarly named arch enemy cousins, Arthur S. and Arthur T. Demoulas, the latter a son of Telemachus. Despite the very public airing of their soiled laundry, Market Basket business boomed. But after the state's highest court forced Arthur T.'s side to pay more than $200 million to his nemeses in 2000, the decision only led to more infighting among shareholders over the chain's seventy-one locations.

This June, the majority board allegiance shifted toward Arthur S., who axed his cousin upon assuming control of the company, therefore prompting widespread worker protests and customer boycotts. So remember: Before this was a lightning rod for workers' rights, it was simply fisticuffs at the family barbecue.


Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The Characters

It's important to note that neither co-star in the Market Basket drama is entirely innocent. Though the recently ousted Arthur T. is widely regarded as the hero and his cousin Arthur S. is the perceived antagonist, both have scraped the bottom of the ethical barrel in their dealings with each other. That said, the Batman Vs. Joker narrative rings demonstrably true from the perspective of the vocal majority of employees.

Arthur T. is famous in New England for his personal flair. Stories include him granting months of paid sick leave to cancer-stricken workers. Arthur S.? Notably less generous. In one instance, after Arthur T. replenished nearly $50 million in employee profit shares that bottomed out in 2008, the Arthur S. contingent cried foul.

A comparable dispute came last year when, to his cousin's consternation, Arthur S. moved to pay out $300 million in dividends to shareholders. Protesting employees fear that losing Arthur T. will lead to liquidation and, then, an erosion of Market Basket's benevolent company culture. Part of that culture, for example, is ensuring guaranteed annual raises, a high starting salary, vacation time and a profit sharing plan for employees at the supermarket.

And those protestors are probably right. As was just reported this past Friday, Arthur S. has entertained a sale to the private equity behemoth Cerberus, which already owns such major grocery store chains as Shaw's, Safeway, Star Market, Acme, Jewel-Osco, and Albertsons.


Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The Climate

Late last month, under mounting pressure from fast food worker advocates, the Massachusetts legislature passed a hike that will raise the Commonwealth's minimum hourly wage to $11 by 2017. It's a relative win for service employees, but in the struggle between bees and business coalitions, the public was subjected to repeated baseless claims by everyone from food industry flacks to lawmakers about the crippling potential of providing living wages.

This is even in liberal Massachusetts, so it's surprising to learn that an enterprise like Market Basket has been so successful without financially strangling its workforce. According to the so-called experts, that kind of equitable math isn't supposed to add up in America. After all, the leading food retailer nationwide is Walmart, and Walmart encourages its employees to go on food stamps to get by.


Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The Numbers

As it turns out, the Market Basket formula does work. In a recent study of Massachusetts grocery store chains, the nonprofit Washington DC-based Center for the Study of Services found “DeMoulas Market Basket’s prices averaged about 22 percent lower than the average prices at the Shaw’s stores [they] checked and 10 to 21 percent lower than the prices at the Stop & Shop stores.” Despite paying starting full-timers $12 an hour and having many career employees on the payroll who make six figures, the survey found that Market Basket had, on average, lower prices than all of their competitors — including Walmart.

Despite such presumably tight profit margins, Market Basket pays its roughly 19,000 workers yearly bonuses that often equal up to several months worth of salary, 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, while the business is currently the 127th biggest privately owned American company according to Forbes. In 2013, Market Basket reportedly rang in $4.6 billion in revenue.


Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The Prospects

The worker and supporter rally outside the Market Basket headquarters in Tewksbury last Friday was the largest yet. Some waved makeshift company flags made out of plastic shopping bags. An ocean of homemade and custom-printed T-shirts reflected an unflinching dedication to Arthur T. Drum circles and brass players stoked the crowd; at one point a propeller plane flew over the parking lot with the horde's top demand spelled out in tow: “ARTIE T SAVE MARKET BASKET BUY THEM OUT.”

Inside, store shelves across the region are reportedly less than twenty-five percent stocked, while an assistant manager at one location told the Boston Globe his supermarket lost about $1.1 million in sales over this past week of demonstrations. As a result of lost revenue and news of rotting trailers full of food abandoned in the upheaval, a minority of reflexive conservative sillies have broken from the chorus of economists who suddenly have kind things to say about profit-sharing. But while they claim that Market Basket customers who shop elsewhere for too long might trade allegiances forever, the emerging cynics fail to recognize how deeply personal this whole ordeal is to those involved —employees and patrons alike.

They're not morons. Every one of them seems to understand that if Arthur S. unloads the supermarket to private equity, Market Basket as they know it will cease to exist.

Meanwhile, the controlling board members remain stuck in a rote corporate mindset. They hired JP Morgan Chase & Co. to advise them in regards to buyout offers, including one by Arthur T., of which there are rumored to be several in the $2.8 billion to $3.3 billion range. Last week, while thousands of workers were picketing in Tewksbury, the board met at the white shoe Boston law firm Ropes & Gray. Proving they've paid no attention whatsoever to the grievances or facts afoot, the Arthur S. side issued a statement to the press criticizing “the negative behavior of certain current and former associates,” and claiming, “It is now clear that it is in the interests of all members of the Market Basket community for normal business operations to resume immediately.”
« : Today at 06:52:28 PM Skull and Bones »


Skull and Bones

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« #11 : Today at 07:01:22 PM »

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/07/29/arthur-demoulas-offer-buy-market-basket-only-bid-under-negotiation-stockholders/FFYGFGZmDYXNbRXkG8TryO/story.html


Kelly Thomas

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« #12 : Today at 09:14:46 PM »

An american success story on the verge of collapse because of greed. Best not say no more lest i be accused of being "a liberal".
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