90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Labor

Thomas Kochan: "This type of broad-based, collective action is unprecedented in modern U.S. labor history." Pictured: Employees of the Market Basket in Somerville, Mass., protest on Somerville Avenue. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

We have a lot to learn from the extraordinary scenes of worker protest that have played out in recent days. Last Friday in Tewksbury, Mass., warehouse, clerical and managerial employees of the Market Basket supermarket chain banded together to protest the firing of their CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, and to register their outrage at a shift in corporate strategy that would benefit owners at the expense of a loyal workforce and the company they helped build. They did it again on Monday after the company, on Sunday, fired eight employees who had skipped work to attend another rally. The protests continue.

This type of broad-based, collective action is unprecedented in modern U.S. labor history. From it, we can glean three lessons.

…these employees are taking on the horde of Wall Street analysts who criticize companies that choose to pay employees well and build a loyal customer base rather than just maximize shareholder returns.

First, it demonstrates the growing frustration building among workers at all levels with short-term, self-interested owners and corporate executives who choose to line their own pockets at the expense of the workforce and their customers. In doing so, these employees are taking on the horde of Wall Street analysts who criticize companies that choose to pay employees well and build a loyal customer base rather than just maximize shareholder returns. For years, Wall Street analysts criticized Costco and Southwest Airlines for following similar strategies, urging them to behave more like competitors such as Walmart or other airlines. Yet these companies showed consistently, over many years, that they could provide good jobs, products and services, and good profits and long-term shareholder returns by treating all stakeholders fairly and with the respect they deserve. So the first lesson: Corporate America better wake up and start listening to their employees  TWEET , or they may find themselves listening to them through bullhorns and in the national press.

Second, the protests reveal just how out of date, irrelevant and inadequate America’s labor laws have become. Why should hourly workers be “protected” from retaliation for speaking out, as stipulated in the National Labor Relations Act (enacted by Congress in 1935), while salaried workers receive no such protections and are, as such, vulnerable to firing for taking the same actions. Indeed, why doesn’t our labor law provide avenues for this broad coalition of workers to gain a voice in corporate governance without having to resort to last ditch public protests? By investing their skills, employees put their human capital at risk, just as the owners invest and put their financial capital at risk. It is time to treat both risk takers equally and provide workers a voice in the key decisions that will determine their collective future.

…the protests reveal just how out of date, irrelevant and inadequate America’s labor laws have become.

Third, Market Basket workers are sending a message to business schools across America that it is time to teach the next generation of managers how to lead companies in ways that better balance and integrate the interests of all stakeholders — owners and executives, middle managers who might someday lead the organization, front line employees who are the face of the company to customers, and customers and communities that support the business. There is ample research and practical evidence showing which finance, operations, human resources and labor relations strategies and practices are needed to manage a company successfully in this way. It is time to embed these principles in MBA courses and make them standard features in the toolkits for the next generation of managers, financial analysts and CEOS.

So, thank you, courageous Market Basket employees, for showing us all what needs to be done.

Related:

Tags: Boston, Economy

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the writer and do not in any way reflect the views of WBUR management or its employees.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • rushthis

    What!? Workers aren’t just another free market commodity?

    • OrangeGina

      indeed. If Corporations are people, then are people Corporations?

      • NotKennedy

        Corporations can own other corporations.

        • KT Kacer

          but people can’t (legally) own other people, hence corporations are not people. Also it is illegal to buy and sell people… yet this happens to corporations all the time, so again. QED, corporations are NOT people.

          • NotKennedy

            Thanks for clearing that up. QED? Is that like a GED or just an offhand splash of Latin?

  • rfra20

    “… to manage a company successfully in this way. It is time to embed these principles in MBA courses”….
    Define “success” please. “Success” in our current world, which is run EXCLUSIVELY by FINANCE, is to maximize the return for the owner (and by association management). Period. In practice that often means “squeezing the lemon dry”, driving down cost in any way possible (reducing wages and benefits, offshoring> transfer of know-how to low cost suppliers etc. etc.) pocketing the money (so owners and management are all set – thank you very much) and disposing of the carcass. THAT is how success is defined in 2014. If we want to change the definition of success it will take some bold social and political change. Nice to see this type of response by the workers but I’m not too optimistic in the big picture….

    • deeeeeeeeeeeeez

      It is hilarious to hear all these business school types talking about how this is a case study in how not to run a business when the execs are doing the exact same thing they were taught by the same people in business school.

      • PaulD

        How do you know the BoD actually went to business school or, if they did, they paid attention? It’s a family owned business so they had no immediate need to go to business school for the purposes of career advancement.

        • deeeeeeeeeeeeez

          I assume the two new co-CEOs probably went to business school…

          • PaulD

            The BoD made the decisions that set this whole episode in motion, not the new CEOs. It’s also worth noting that one of the CEOs came from Radio Shack. Nobody from Radio Shack is ever the right person for the job.

          • deeeeeeeeeeeeez

            I know. You’re missing my point.

          • PaulD

            If your point is to blame this on what business schools teach, I think that’s quite a stretch. It would be like blaming engineering schools for the whole GM ignition switch debacle. Make note of the fact that we’re all commenting on an article written by a professor at one of the best business schools in the country.

          • bethie

            Of course, both of them ran their previous companies into the ground. (Radio Shack, Albertsons)

    • rockhauler

      in the 80′s and 90′s we defined “success” by a formula for utility that appealed to shareholders. one utility was corporate relations, including local and customer relations. perhaps, now that SCOTUS has given partial citizenship status to corporations, those corporations should begin to consider their responsibilities to their communities. If i were a shareholder, i’d dump those shares immediately, even with a loss. if i were a shareholder, i’d want to invest in a company with good morale and a sense of mission to the community. if this country is to rebuild its economic infrastructure, the workers have to feel great about what they’re doing and their relationship to the corporation. i applaud the workers for their campaign and all the consumers who support them – finally a return to communitarian principle.

      • Brenda

        The shareholders of this private, family-run business are nine family members. However, that was a good suggestion to dump shares. In the meantime, we in the community are shopping at other grocery stores. Money talks.

      • X-Ray

        If you assert that the SCOTUS has given corporation citizenship you are wrong. If you assert that the SCOTUS has given new standing for a corporation as a natural person, you are wrong; that view has existd in law for 100 years.

    • PaulD

      A public company has one, sole fiduciary duty and that is to maximize shareholder value. This has always been true since companies could sell shares in the open market, not just our “current world”. I realize that MB is not a public company but they are definitely for profit and the BoD has the same motivations here as in a public company.

      That said, many (probably most) companies rely on a competent work force and if those employees all talk to each other and decide not to work for a given company because of something they don’t like, the company is (sorry to be blunt) screwed. The employees are free to do what they’re doing, and I’m sure they realize this, just as the employer is free to fire all of them. Both sides have a huge risk here.

      Any way you cut it, this whole situation is quite unprecedented and very interesting. Personally, I applaud the workers for having the guts to stand up in this way. (full disclosure: I benefited from MB’s low prices and it sounds like the BoD wanted to end that).

      • myleftone

        That’s about as thoughtful and accurate as any comment I’ve seen on this. I’ll add that I was also one of those customers, and that MB does not have competition in their low-price model. Why they would pivot to mimic Hannaford, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop, when MB’s model was working quite well in comparison?

        • PaulD

          Thanks.

          If I were running MB, I wouldn’t be changing the business model, but I’m not running it. If anything, I think MB generally has better quality and selection than the competitors yet they still have lower prices.

          I think part of the answer to your question lies in the completely dysfunctional family relations involved, and that the other half of the family wants to get out of the business. If they weren’t so myopic, they’d work with Arthur T’s side to figure out an exit strategy that might take a few years, but wouldn’t burn the company down in the process.

          • AJScease

            I’m not sure the entire other half of the family wants to get out of the business. I think a certain family member, Arthur S. Demoulas, may be taking advantage of one shareholder’s desire to exit in order to settle personal scores.

        • SueT

          It’s a family feud that goes back 40 some odd years. If Arthur S doesn’t relent, the board should get rid of HIM.

      • AJScease

        “A public company has one, sole fiduciary duty and that is to maximize shareholder value.”- I would say that a business model that ensures long-term profit using a loyal and efficient workforce, a workforce that doesn’t feel the need to unionize in this case, is maximizing shareholder value. Perhaps we need to redefine value giving more weight to long-term health and profitability, as well as viability of the workforce employed at a given firm. I think this story is a wake up call to business schools.

        • PaulD

          You would think a non-public company *would* be able to focus more on the long term since they’re not encumbered by the same quarterly reporting requirements and beholden to the stock market to keep the stock value high. In fact, some companies like Dell have gone back to being private for just that reason.

          That said, I think it’s a mistake to use this situation as an indicator of where things are headed. I think this is more of an anomaly.

        • Concerned Citizen

          That’s what b-schools have been preaching for years… return value to shareholders. I think the way customers have joined this battle proves that the primary responsibilities of a business are to 1) provide goods or services to a market and 2) provide jobs in the community in which they do business. Only after doing try these jobs well should they 3) be allowed.to return the profits to.the shareholders. MB was.doing just that, and quite effectively until greed won the upper hand.

          What does it say about a board of directors so clueless about the business they direct that they couldn’t see this coming?

        • gggreggg

          I am not in any way knowledgeable about business, but I think that you are incorrect when you say that “a public company’s sole fiduciary duty it to maximize share holder value.” I think the duty is to make the company successful and in that way reward the share holder.

          • AJScease

            That was my point. I was quoting a previous poster and saying that… just read the whole post. It’s obvious you didn’t.

      • rdk

        Just by saying”that said” I don’t want to listen to you. Bet you say ” on the same page” and all the other bullshit phrases that people who think they are something keep using. Personally all those corporate phrases and other are so many of them make you look stupid.

        • PaulD

          “and other are so many of them make you look stupid.”

          Ok Hemingway.

        • SueT

          Irrelevant discussion.

    • NotKennedy

      “…maximize the return for the owner (and by association management).”

      Some folks actually believe that one useful benefit of a corporation includes the separation of management from owners. It kind of goes along with that concept of unlimited life of a corporation in contrast with human mortality.

      There are at least a couple of other benefits available from the entity concept, not the least of which is capital formation.

      Somehow, in the grand scheme of things, one person from a nine member board of directors is not likely to compel the end of the entity.

      However, some Wang investors may have had a different experience.

      There are many stories of family businesses coming apart around the third or fourth generation.

      New management, from an independent perspective may be useful to the preservation of the entity when internecine contests conflict with the entities mission, the raison d’etre.

  • road.rep

    Those are good lessons to learn, but there might be one more: If you take part in this kind of protest, you will loose your job and top management will probably win. So far, all of the people fired by Market Basket are still fired and the old CEO has not been reinstated. The new CEO is betting that all this will die down and be forgotten in a few days. He believes that his customers will return and business will continue as usual. History tells us that he is probably correct.

    • J~daddy

      Market Basket is losing Million$ by the day. A very expensive bet by the new CEO.

    • deeeeeeeeeeeeez

      Go back a little further in your history. We will win.

    • rockhauler

      do you really think the workers didn’t know that? fortunately some are willing to take risks.

      • IceGremlin

        It also helps that the behavior of Artie T in the past gives a lot of people a heartfelt belief that if Artie T comes back, he will rehire them. (Besides, if people can put up with hired thugs and truckers yelling and screaming at them and threats that security forces will be sicced on them, I’m sure they can handle going without some pay.) And what else are people supposed to do? Roll over and play dead every time their employer screws them?

    • http://batman-news.com Malts

      New Englanders love a bargain but not at the expense of fairness and respect. Until recently Market Basket enjoyed an almost cult-like loyalty from its employees and customers. But both employees and customers see Market Basket as a family led by Arthur T, a leader who was visible to his following. The new co-CEOs have failed to recognize the depth and value of that loyalty or how Arthur T earned it. They’ve been consultants to this company for months, knew or should have known that they were entering a tempest, should have known or had some idea of what the backlash would be, and should have had a game plan in place. Did no one on the Board mention to the new co-CEOs that there was an attempted outster of Arthur T. in July 2013 and an employee uprising at that time? I don’t see the employees or customers going the “forgive and forget” route any time soon.

  • Alvin Funk

    Administrators are way over paid… Why in the world do they get these ridiculous amounts of money… the old finding that take home pay seems to be related only to the distance the working stiff is from the trough………..

  • Ellen Dannin

    This statement is incorrect. The NLRA protects private sector
    employees. Those protections have absolutely nothing to do with the way
    in which an employee is paid.

    My amicus brief in
    the Northwestern University football players case lays out the
    legislative history of the definition of employee and why Congress chose
    such a broad definition. I have posted my amicus brief on EPRN.

    Take a look at NLRA Sec. 2(3), which says that employee means any employee
    without regard to whether they have a relationship with an employer.
    Take a look at the legislative history for the reasons congress chose
    such a broad definition. The point was to ensure that employees were
    protected in making common cause with one another.

    “Second, the protests reveal just how out of date, irrelevant and
    inadequate America’s labor laws have become. Why should hourly workers
    be “protected” from retaliation for speaking out, as stipulated in the National Labor Relations Act
    (enacted by Congress in 1935), while salaried workers receive no such
    protections and are, as such, vulnerable to firing for taking the same
    actions.”

  • OrangeGina

    I’d love to believe this could be a ‘new day’ for employer/employee relations. I think the esteemed professor is forgetting that this only works because MB is a local entity that cannot be outsourced or done over the Internet. This wouldn’t work just any where.

  • Mango Momma

    Let’s not forget that if “greedy” Arthur S. focuses on maximizing shareholder wealth at the expense of employee satisfaction that “saint” Arthur T. will reap the benefits. I’m not feeling the love over the deification of Arthur T. that’s been going on. Yes, he got fired, but he’s still going to just keep getting richer. And while I sympathize with the workers, their protest is based entirely on speculation. What evidence do they have that there will be issues under the new management?

    • PaulD

      25k employees, who have real skin in the game, seem to think Arthur T is good enough to put their jobs on the line for him. This includes 70 store managers. I have to believe they’re not all that stupid and they really believe that they will suffer under the next CEO. There’s also indications that the next regime wanted to change the benefits and overall business model.

      I’ve worked in big corporations for 25 years now. The rumor mill is often a lot more accurate than you’d think. Further, as I said below, Radio Shack? Really?

    • HSMama

      Don’t you think it’s conceivable that these many people, being personally involved in this fiasco, have information that you and I aren’t privy to?

      There has been talk of certain communications from the new management and their hired guns. We haven’t been told what was said but, suffice to say that a large number of people concluded that there are going to be some nasty changes taking place, and that they want no part of them.

      I, for one, am putting more stock into the idea that they are making informed decisions rather than the one that I know everything there is to know, and that they’re all idiots.

    • DougD

      Google Indian Ridge Country Club

    • KT Kacer

      Experience is my bet.

  • nadiasindi

    Here is an example of what corporate American has done to me!!

    Oregon’s former A.G. Frohnmayer is preventing me getting employed, made me homeless! Put a lien on my fully paid Condo, and sold it.

    http://private-person.com/blog/2014/05/us-supreme-court-rules-government-officers-liable/

    He is charging $550.00 an hour and his law firm Harrang, Long, Gary, Rudnick P.C. is the D.A. of Lane County, the City Attorney, and the University of Oregon too!!

    Frohnmayer has committed more fraudulent crimes than any elected or non-elected official! And noone is holding him accountable!

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19900215&id=sUNWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=huoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6655,3369919

    Frohnmayer presenting his case against Smith Supreme Court “Peyote Persecution Shows Societal Racism!

    http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1213

    All the Lane County government are complicit with him!!

    I hope & pray the FBI will investigate Frohnmayer soon!

    Please sign both petitions.

    https://www.change.org/petitions/a-g-eric-holder-sent-jeff-merkley-gov-john-kitzhaber-investigate-abuse-of-power-and-criminal-forgery-by-former-oregon-a-g-david-frohnmayer-and-lane-county-government#share

    And this one with Causes too. Thanks!

    https://www.causes.com/posts/899197

  • crescentfang

    The list of unethical tricks businesses use to deceive and cheat their customers has become long and I keep wondering when the public will stop chasing “deals” and “bargains” and rewarding bad behavior. It took decades for customers to wise up to cell phone contracts that charged absurd fees for every minute over a preset amount. Business schools don’t teach ethics. Former customers do that when they don’t come back.

  • jetboys

    One model that allows “workers to gain a voice in corporate governance without having to resort to last ditch public protests” is, ironically, what we imposed on Germany after WWII: labor has a seat on the board, giving workers access to information and a voice and a vote.

    • KT Kacer

      Since the country is essentially fascist, now, I guess it’s past due here, huh?

  • DeSwiss

    Don’t stop here. They’re all crooked as hell!

  • doubtingthomas51

    Lesson #4-Don’t create co-CEO’s with one of them being the clown who ran Radio Shack into the ground and expect to be taken seriously.
    Once again Gooch will screw the pooch!

  • NotKennedy

    Another ivory tower liberal academic holding forth with some socialist dogma about a private, for profit, competitive enterprise as though it was some sort of co-op.

    Let’s see, who was Obama’s Harvard beer summit buddy and his teaching moment? Wasn’t that a matter of some disgruntled, emotional normative reaction to a perfectly ordinary encounter with a police officer.

    The teaching moment in Market Basket’s story is that they ought to avail themselves of restraining orders against disgruntled ex-employees who have instigated a mutiny by dereliction of their employment duties in favor of inserting themselves into matters of which they have no standing.

    Operating as a closely held, non publicly traded business entity affords certain benefits and not having to negotiate management strategy with hourly employees is one of those benefits.

    After the unruly insubordination and expressed interest of causing harm against an ordinary business enterprise for conducting their business as management has deemed appropriate, it is appropriate that management would also avail itself of such legal remedies as are available to protect their interests.

    Holding a kangaroo court in the parking lot is not a civil right or any other kind of right, it is called trespassing.

    If renegades truly believe they have a complaint., they may seek redress in an appropriate forum and manner.

    Inhibiting commerce by and alienating consumers is quite well is quite well protected against in matters of abortion clinics.

    Maybe Market Basket ought to assert their rights to operate their stores without peril of intimidating customers or thwarting access and egress from store locations.

    Moreover, this is not a matter of labor relations or a union contention. Ronald Reagan gave the air traffic controllers very specific instructions and carried through with those instructions. Market Basket may do well, similarly.

    • bethie

      You’re not from around here, are you?

    • IceGremlin

      You know, I’m not sure most people care. Upper management has quit, the customers are boycotting, and the low level employees are striking and protesting. Sure, Artie S. has a legal right to be a jerk and constantly threaten protesters by sending screaming thugs with threats of security forces being sicced on them, and the rest of the world has a right to recognize that their legal actions are still morally reprehensible, and still has a right to drown the business in retaliation for changing it’s policies. Because we don’t like his policies. I sincerely hope you’re just a troll, and nobody actually believes that Artie S. is the good guy in all of this just because he has the legal right to do what he’s doing.

  • Missy

    Regarding your banner cry for MBA schools to re-align their courses to
    ‘teach the next generation of managers how to lead companies in ways that
    better balance and integrate the interests of all stakeholders — owners
    and executives, middle managers who might someday lead the
    organization, front line employees who are the face of the company to
    customers, and customers and communities that support the business”, PLEASE NOTE that there is a broad movement across this country (at least) to minimize the notion that one needs an MBA to manage a business. Please keep us updated on the basic conflict this promises to project into our futures.

    • NotKennedy

      What conflict promises to project into the future? The most inhibiting conflict I see for the businesses, going into the future, is federal government intervention and inhibition. Few impediments are as ‘taxing’ as having to contend with the whims and fancies of various Congresses and their trivial ideas about social engineering.

  • Dannyboy

    If employees don’t care about each other the dollar will always win.

  • Magical Aaron

    There is a fourth lesson:
    The issue isn’t Rich V. Poor as many conservatives like to say it is. The working classes don’t really care if a person is rich or not. The issue is level of sadism the wealthy shareholders inflict on the working class for a quick buck…and the fact that they can constantly get a way it it.

  • Joe Barnes

    As a former 10 year employee, I strongly disagree. These protesters are not protesting for more rights or better wages, they are protesting to have their old boss back, a boss who along with upper management conspires to subvert and completely exploit workers to maintain total control of Market basket. The people you see protesting have been brainwashed into thinking workers rights and regulation are bad for business. There is no lesson here for Corporate America. Corporate America is laughing at this. Arthur wont be coming back, and when this protest dies down, everyone who protested is going to lose their job and the ones who are left will be making less.

    • IceGremlin

      Artie S. voted all of the companies assets to the board (using his majority, of course) and seeks to liquidate the company in return for short term gain. Artie T, meanwhile, maintained good pay and consistent acceptance of full time employment, something Artie S. has been threatening. So yeah, of course people want their old boss back- their old boss was kicked out, and the new guy refuses to provide all the rights and better wages Artie T was ALREADY giving! (Of course, you’re probably a troll, but whatever.) These people haven’t been brainwashed- they got what they wanted from their jobs, and the new boss is threatening that. They know full well the risks they’re taking to maintain their lifestyle.

  • Joe Barnes

    Furthermore NPR and All other Media outlets covering this are misrepresenting this story to fit some by gone workers rights narrative and make everyone feel good. You (NPR) should all be ashamed of yourselves, because your mischaracterization of this event is completely distorting the concept of what the struggle for workers rights today is, and consequently leaving the world ignorant and more confused. Whoever wrote this should just go work at Fox news.

    • KT Kacer

      Kochs are on that board now for NPR, it’s my guess that’s why the crap.

  • justthefacts

    Does anyone really know if the past model was working? This is a private company. Where are people getting the info that supports the business was sound financially?

    • bethie

      Not only did the past model work, their PROFIT last year alone was well over $25 million. That is over and above the huge expansion and remodelling of stores that they did. That is plenty of money for nine shareholders for one year, no?

    • IceGremlin

      $300 million dollars in assets and $0 dollars in debt, and the company was still continuing to open more stores. That’s on top of the $25 million dollar plus profits last year. (As it turns out, it is not in fact necessary to be a bloodthirsty robber baron to live a comfortable, wealthy life as the owner of a corporation, despite what the bloodthirsty robber barons would like to say to justify themselves)

  • Vandermeer

    I’m following this story with great interest. I hope there is a happy ending to this tussel between modern bottom-line business practices and respect for the American worker. If the workers succeed, there is hope for this country.

  • SueS

    I guess the old saying “treat someone the way you want to be treated has grown some roots”. By Art T getting to know his people, sharing the profits with them, promoting through the ranks, shaking a baggers hand and telling him hes doing a good job speaks volumes and this is a direct indication of that!

  • AC

    i don’t know if it speaks to Boston Strong mentality, but i think people are sick and tired of stinky jobs and pay. and i think people around them are finally showing support.
    i think this will be the beginning of a trend, timely with the push for a better minimum wage, people will become more supportive of companies that treat their workers with dignity…

  • Barbara

    market basket has a long and impressive history of supporting employees and the community. i will no longer shop there unless the former CEO is reinstated or owns the company. customers will not put up with this kind of greed and lack of humanity in business dealings!

  • FoodieN

    I wish there was a Market Basket near me. I’ve always been impressed in recent years with their stores, prices and employees when having to shop in a MB on occasion. They also have these excellent stores in lower income areas where other chains would never venture. MB managers and employees are my new heroes. I don’t know Arthur T but Im sure as hell interested now. I hope to see books and a movie soon. Corp friends of mine laughed when asked if they would ever consider doing the same for their CEO. MB in my opinion has struck a cord that needs to play on louder than ever……corporate America are you listening???

  • Joseph delpico

    This is the result of Corporate greed taught at MBA schools like Harvard. Market Basket is where I shop and found its prices and quality far superior than Shaws or Stop and Shop. Its hiring of handicapped and bussing workers from adjacent low income areas also impressed me. The fired CEO ran the company, the cousin responsible for the takeover never ran it and assigned two (why two) MBA types as CEO, showing he does not want to run it only rob it. Corporations have shareholder responsibilities but also community responsibilities that are of not recognized at business schools.
    I and the locals I talk to will never shop at Market Basket again, unless this demonstration of greed is reversed. If the hourly non union employees are risking there meager wealth to fight this greed I will back them.

    • PaulD

      While I strongly back the workers in this case, it doesn’t support anything you’re asserting.

      Corporations have no duty to the community, even if everyone thinks they should. They have a duty to their shareholders and a legal responsibility to not defraud their customers and that’s about it.

      As for greed being taught at business schools, this was discussed already below. I don’t know what Arthur S. Demoulas’ educational background is, but all indications are that any inclinations he has towards greed didn’t need to be learned in business school.

  • David Mortimer

    The Professors words reaffirm the old maxim, “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.” Ivory tower nonsense.

  • Ray

    I’m going to throw a dirty word into this discussion – Union. There, I said it, wadya gonna do about it?

    • PaulD

      How is that relevant to the situation being discussed?

      • Ray

        Feel free to discuss.

        • PaulD

          Ok. If MB employees had been unionized prior to this, we wouldn’t be having any of these discussions. The unions would have soured the relationship between the workers and management long ago and management wouldn’t have treated the workers so well. Further, the workers would have only felt loyalty to the union, not the company that actually employed them.

          Now it’s your turn to actually post something useful.

          • Ray

            You comments are without a factual basis, so there is nothing to address.

  • odikhmantievich

    “This type of broad-based, collective action is unprecedented in modern U.S. labor history.”

    Yikes.. Kochan couldn’t get a friend to proof his article?

    Is Sloan the new Arizona State?

  • Sue H Billerica

    Fiduciary/ Peduciary…… Moral of this sad story is that greed and spite are two very bitter pills to swallow (that’s a tip Arthur S.).

  • Bunzi1964

    “By investing their skills, employees put their human capital at risk” What exactly does that mean? What kind of risk do the employees have here? I dont get the employee risk here.

  • gleey

    the company is losing millions of dollars every day with the stores operating at 3% of their normal sales volumes. I think that, at this point, the damage is irrepairable.The company will be sold off, the DeMoulas boys will live happily ever after, and all the employees with years vested will be left to pound sand.

  • Burnerjack

    Arthur T should open a new store (may I suggest ‘Arthut T”s?) and hire all those that support him. The customers will follow and those that tried to gut the company for their own desires will be left out in the cold. All fair, all befitting.

  • gbrbr

    Well, now that it is over, I want to remind all of these pro shareholder people of a few things:

    1. Market Basket is not a public company

    2. For years, Market Basket has been treating it’s employees fairly, keeping prices low (offering value to customers) and treating vendors as business partners. MB has been operating from a very moral stance and, Market Basket’s success is due to the low prices, good pay and fair vendor practices.

    3. These same practices brought MB from 15 stores to 71 stores

    4. The latest issues had nothing to do with shareholder distributions, it was all to do with a family feud.

    5. Each shareholder has more than enough money, without one more distribution given to them, to live out 5 lifetimes in a more than comfortable way.

    6. All of these companies that are “maximizing shareholders value or distributions” are doing this on the backs of all of us. WalMart does not pay a living wage and the results of such is that MANY of their employees qualify and receive food stamps and medical. That is great (not) except, who pays for this? The taxpayers are subsidizing WalMart’s employees (and, in fact, many different companies’ employees) in the form of various welfare programs. We pay so their shareholders can take more money from their investment. I love watching people who scream about how shareholders should make unlimited millions while screaming about food stamps and medicaid. You can’t have it both ways.

    7. Did you hear that, if a deal was not made, MB would close 61 stores? With an income of 4 billion per year, there are no stores that don’t run a profit so, the idea that they are trying to maximize profit, is kind of out the window, you think?

    8. We cannot sustain a country if we keep decreasing pay and benefits while increasing shareholder profits. When poverty goes up, crime goes up, it is a known fact.

    9. On the MB balance sheet, there is a line called “goodwill”. Goodwill is an intangible asset (you can’t see it or touch it) that INCREASES the value of a company. MB’s “goodwill” is maximized due to their employees, customers and vendors loyalty – which should not be in question after this – the BOD nearly destroyed the goodwill, thereby, decreasing MB value.

    10. Tell me again how the shareholders needed more money yet, during this whole thing, they over paid vendors by almost a million dollars… please, Explain how they maintained their fiduciary duty. Also, it took them 6 weeks of losing millions per day, to finally put an end to this. Remember, even now ATD and his family own 49.5 percent of the company and, as such, is still owed that same fiduciary duty.

    11. There is nothing that any “pro ASD” person can say that would justify or clarify what happened in any type of financial terms. It was personal, plain and simple. What they didn’t count on was that, due to ATD’s unwavering loyalty to everyone, everyone would stand behind ATD.

    Either way, I am glad that ATD won. A win for ATD is a win for the employees, customers and vendors of MB!

TOP