The Market Basket Protests And The American Worker

American workers, saying “enough.” We’ll look at Market Basket grocery workers walking out for a say in how they’re managed.

Protesters hold signs during a rally at Market Basket in Tewksbury, Mass., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Thousands of Market Basket supermarket employees and their supporters are calling for the reinstatement of their fired CEO, even as the company began a three-day job fair to replace employees who have refused to work during a revolt that is costing the supermarket chain millions. (AP)

Protesters hold signs during a rally at Market Basket in Tewksbury, Mass., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (AP)

It’s not easy standing up as a worker-friendly company in America these days.  Set yourself up as a Costco or Southwest Airlines with good benefits and wages and a long-term outlook, and the cost-cutting Wall Street crowd will be on your case in a hurry.  Right now, workers at an American grocery chain called Market Basket are going to the mat for a CEO they think has their best interests at heart.  Risking their jobs for a worker and community-oriented corporate culture that goes against the grain.  This hour, On Point:  a story of American workers saying “enough.”

– Tom Ashbrook


Curt Nickisch, business and technology reporter for WBUR. (@CurtNickisch)

Thomas Kochan, professor of management and a professor of work and employment research and engineering systems at the MIT Sloan School of Management. (@TomKochan)

Steven Greenhouse, labor and workplace reporter for The New York Times. Author of, “The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.” (@greenhousenyt)

Steve Paulenka, former facilities and operations supervisor for Market Basket. He was fired July 20 for inciting the protest movement to restore Arthur T. Demoulas to the top job at the grocery chain. He had been with Market Basket for 40 years.

Charles Elson, professor of finance and chair in corporate governance at The University of Delaware’s Alfred Learner College of Business and Economics.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Boston Globe: Is ‘shareholder value’ bad for business? — “Experts on the history of business say the Market Basket saga is a window onto something deeper than a power struggle among the Demoulas clan that owns it. They see it as emblematic of a war over the future of the American corporation—what its purpose is, how it should be run, and whom it should be engineered to benefit. They argue that maximizing profit and shareholder value—an approach to running companies that drives investment on Wall Street and serves as the closest thing to modern management gospel—is only one way of defining corporate success, and a fairly new one at that.”

CNN: How Market Basket workers are fighting greed — “Here’s something you don’t see every day: The 99% demonstrating in support of the 1%. But that’s exactly what’s been happening for several weeks all around New England at Market Basket grocery stores.”

Associated Press: Troubled supermarket’s executives say workers worried about safety can seek new jobs privately — “Executives at the troubled Market Basket supermarket chain in New England stepped up their efforts Monday to fight back against a workers’ revolt and customer boycott that have paralyzed the company and drawn attention for their unusual demand to reinstate the previous CEO.”

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