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Would you risk it all for your....boss?


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I don't know if any of this is hitting the news outside of New England, but I thought that anyone who has ever worked for a living might enjoy it.

 

There is a grocery chain in this area, owned by a family called Demoulas, and often operating under the name Market Basket. Started by one man, it has flourished into a multi-million dollar operation with hundreds of stores and 25,000 employees. It has, until recently, been known for high-quality, low prices, and a family-like atmosphere between management, employees and customers.

 

All has not been so idyllic among the family owners, however. The chain is a closely held corporation, with a handful of offspring of the deceased founder as the beneficiaries. Litigation has been their primary occupation since the founder died, and it has been messy, to say the least. Until recently, one cousin, Arthur T., has been the hands-on operating chief, and the success of the stores is largely credited to his business acumen and his fantastic relationship with his staff. He protects them like family, funds a generous retirement plan, pays good wages, and even after that, makes a solid profit for the chain.

 

That, however, has not been enough for his cousin Arthur S. (both men were named for their grandfather, the founder). Carrying a huge grudge over past slights and lawsuits, Arthur S. was able last month to persuade the board to vote Arthur T. out, and promptly canned him. Arthur S. then brought in 2 co-CEOs, both late of failed companies. At the same time, the Board (now run by Arthur S.) distributed $250 million in profits among the family members, raising concerns that the days of a flush pension fund and good wages were coming to an end.

 

What followed is remarkable.

 

5000 employees have walked off the job and begun peaceful protests and rallies at stores. The entire warehouse operation has ground to a halt, leaving the stores' shelves bare. Customers are honoring the action, and shopping elsewhere; many bring their receipts from other grocers to the MB stores and tape them to the windows with messages of support. Over 60,000 people have signed an online petition to restore Arthur T.

 

New management's response? Firing of 8 managers who are the primary organizers. Result? More walk-outs, more protests. 80 legislators have signed the restoration petition. The state attorney general has expressed sympathy and support for the workers and the deposed Arthur T. Millions in produce and seafood has rotted in the warehouse. New Management's response? Silence, after an initial feeble attempt to blame the workers.

 

I have never seen such solidarity among middle management, workers, and customers. This is a non-union operation, but these folks understand what it means to stand up for what is right. They have even rebuked an attempt by the Teamsters to worm their way into the dispute. These folks are special people.

 

Take a few minutes and read some of the press - especially the comments; you have never read a story like this before. It will make a great movie, methinks.

 

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/07/22/demoulas/q5QxLI3iBmKZ29T11fipDN/story.html

 

LL

 

 

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It's heartwarming to hear there were/are companies out there that care for their employees and customers. More power to those people. I hope this all works out favorably for them.

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Maybe they're "risking it all" for their boss. Or maybe they're doing it to preserve a work culture that they enjoy and that is better than what they believe will happen under new leadership.

 

I would not be so altruistic as to do this for a boss.

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Loyalty - it can't be bought.

One of those things that's hard earned and easily lost.

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One of those things that's hard earned and easily lost.

 

Yep. And you can bet that pretty much no matter what happens a lot of those customers won't be back.

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Yep. And you can bet that pretty much no matter what happens a lot of those customers won't be back.

 

Actually, Joe, I think they will be back, if this turns out to favor the employees. Folks here know why they are doing what they are doing, and sympathize. If they win, the customers will return.

 

If the employees lose, well, there are plenty of other stores.

 

LL

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I went back to school in my late 30S to complete a degree in business management. I have worked since fourteen on farms, in forestry, in restaurants and in metal fabrication (since 1989).

I was introduced to new thought while in school: companies exist only to increase the worth of the share holders. Higher wages, better benefits, etc. are offered for two reasons: altruism and to recruit or keep employees that increase the worth of the shareholders.

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We can only hope they are successful.

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Maybe they're "risking it all" for their boss. Or maybe they're doing it to preserve a work culture that they enjoy and that is better than what they believe will happen under new leadership.

 

I would not be so altruistic as to do this for a boss.

Charley, I think they are right in realizing that the work culture they want to continue is largely due to the leadership and values of this particular boss.

 

Strong, positive leadership is a vanishing quality in our country right now (it starts at the top, Mr. President), but it will be coming back, and soon!

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