This seemed like timely content for a Labor Day holiday.
On Thursday, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported that a deal had been reached regarding the confrontation at the Market Basket supermarkets in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Arthur T. Demoulas will acquire a 50.5 percent ownerhsip of the company and return to managing it. He had been ousted last year by the company's Board of Directors, which included other family members. Reportedly, the company issued a statement that Arthur T. Demoulas:
"... and his management team will return to Market Basket during the interim period while the transaction to purchase the company is completed... All associates are welcome back to work with the former management team to restore the company back to normal operations.”
A grassroots effort of managers and employees had stopped work, promising to return to work when Arthur T. Demoulas was reinstated. Supporting this effort, most customers stopped shopping at the supermarket chain, whose revenues dropped more than 90 percent. Store shelves became bare, and many workers had their hours reduced. The confrontation lasted about five weeks and made news headlines worldwide.
Reportedly, the sale will be completed in a couple months. Mr Arthur T. Demoulas thanked cheering employees and supporters.
I cannot recall a time in history when a group of managers and employees banded together to support a senior executive of a corporation. When Arthur T. Demoulas previously managed Market Basket, he managed it more like a benefit corporation -- a joint enterprise between the company, its owners, and the community. He kept prices lower than competitors' prices, paid employees more, and gave both employees and managers more authority.
Professor and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich posted on August 28 via Facebook:
"In a big win for employees, managers, and customers of “Market Basket” -- the supermarket chain in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine whose beloved CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, was fired by a greedy board of directors who thought him too generous – Arthur T. is now back. Yesterday the board relented and agreed to sell the company to him. Arthur T. told cheering workers at the company’s headquarters in Tewksbury that he loved them, appreciated their efforts helping him gain control of the company, and was “in awe of what you have all accomplished.” Over the last several weeks, the sacrifices of employees, managers, and customers of “Market Basket” gives new meaning to the old term “solidarity.” It also illustrates the power of treating such people as partners in an enterprise rather than as costs to be cut. When all benefit from a business's success, all will sacrifice to keep it successful. May the rest of American business take note."
Note: workers as partners, not a cost to be cut. And... a sacrifice, indeed, by managers, employees, and customers. It showed what solidarity can achieve. Congratulations!