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Monday, July 28, 2014

MARKET BASKET MUTINY: Corporate Greed Take Heed

The Market Basket Mutiny has got to be the most effective workers strike since the historic labor revolts of the 1920s and 30s, and it's swiftly brought a four-billion-dollar, tri-state grocery chain to its knees. So why aren't the national news corporations covering it?

After all, at the heart of this larger-than-life dispute between employees and management lies all the major elements of a bestselling story: A longstanding family feud, a sinister board of directors, a hostile takeover and ousted CEO, and a David versus Goliath struggle that, rightly so, sees the 'little guy' ably winning.


Corporate Greed Crime of the Century:

Kudos to the savvy and well organized mutineers -- nearly 20,000 strong -- who have succinctly put a halt to Big Business's typical business-as-usual mindset and bloodletting. They should be proud and, nationwide, their fearless actions emulated.

Yet, just a few short weeks ago, it was the family-owned company's powerful board of directors and their newly-appointed CEO who were slapping themselves on the back. No doubt, wild with anticipation about their own 4-percent raises, and those job layoffs and pay cuts they'd *necessarily* be making soon in order to increase corporate profitability and shareholders' earnings.

Today though, in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire where the super-sized supermarket chain runs over 70 stores in all, it's clear that the board's subversive plan has backfired considerably. 

The shelves of MARKET BASKET are almost empty this week, whilst its warehouse workers and shipping forces join the checkout clerks and baggers in a massive public protest over the firing of their beloved and benevolent former CEO, "Arthur T" Demoulas and the hiring instead of his allegedly wicked, scheming cousin, "Arthur S" Demoulas.

As to the mobs of once-loyal shoppers, they too have picked sides, the majority actively supporting strikers with a crippling boycott, petitions by the score, and storefront rallies that are now drawing in thousands of people at a pop.

Mom and Pop (and Uncle Mike):

Early in the 20th century, newly-landed immigrants Athanasios (Arthur) and Efrosini Demoulas opened a deli in Lowell Massachusetts. Together the Greek couple successfully sold lamb there for decades until retiring in 1954 and handing off their still-small but thriving enterprise to favored sons, George and Mike. 

Fifteen years and 15 stores after that, the two Demoulas brothers were well on their way to snagging the American Dream and creating the multi-billion-dollar grocery business known today as "Market Basket."

Soon thereafter, however -- with one greedy brother dipping into the till while the other one wasn't looking -- this happy tale takes a rather sad but predictable twist. The kind which would make Mom and Pop Demoulas roll in their graves perpetually, and leave their heirs forever fractured and feuding.

So perhaps the current contest pales in comparison with that of thieving Uncle Mike, although his selfish acts at least only served to siphon off some of the family's whopping profits, not strip all their stores bare.

Yes, We Have No Bananas:

Actually, the one thing there's now a glut of at the beleaguered supermarket's many outlets is bananas ... but these fruits don't keep well of course, so they're being given away before they rot. 

Ditto for sliced bread, hotdog rolls, and hamburger buns.

Bread Alone:

Obviously, emptied stores and wasted produce isn't a business model that can be maintained for very long, and, albeit the filthy rich and fighting Demoulas may be used to operating well amidst chronic stress and strife, by week three of the standoff it's becoming perfectly clear this isn't a family quarrel either side will win.

Their business is at a virtual standstill. Their customers are practically nil. Their paid employees are picketing.

All that has to happen now to seal their corporate doom is that the national news agencies catch wind of all this...


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