Since its founding, Market Basket has been owned and operated by the DeMoulas family, but for several decades, different branches of the family have been fighting for control. In June, longtime CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas was ousted by his cousin, Arthur S. DeMoulas, who has taken a controlling stake of the company.
The problem is, Arthur T. DeMoulas, or ATD as he is lovingly known as by Market Basket employees, treated his workers well, and now their good jobs are turning into bad ones. Employees and customers alike have been organizing ever since, to pressure the board to bring ATD back. They have built a huge online following and generated a lot of media coverage with protests and actions around the New England area.
Workers are invested in the campaign because they currently enjoy good benefits, including a profit sharing plan, which would be at risk under new management. The protests escalated until workers walked off the job on July 18. Pressure is mounting on the company board. Many of the workers leading the strike were fired, but the chain has still been disrupted. Warehouses have been shut down, shelves are empty, store managers are protesting along with workers, and numerous local politicians, including the governor of New Hampshire, have voiced support for the actions. Arthur T has made an offer to buy the company, but it’s unclear how seriously the board is taking the offer.
As these Market Basket workers continue to fight for good jobs, UFCW members are standing with them. They have been alongside them at actions, and reaching out to Market Basket workers in the stores to let them know about their rights. We support all workers who stand up to make their workplaces the best they can be, and we see what’s going on at Market Basket as an inspiring example of what workers can achieve by standing together to take action.
There are good bosses and bad bosses, but in the end workers need to rely on themselves and their coworkers. No matter who the CEO of Market Basket is, workers should have a seat at the table and a contract that guarantees that a change in leadership won’t mean the end of the benefits they and their families rely on.
If you’d like to support Market Basket workers too, there are several things you can do:
- Take a picture with a sign reading “I stand with Market Basket workers” or something similar. Share those pictures on Facebook with the hashtag #SaveMarketBasket
- Tweet on the hashtag #SaveMarketBasket and encourage others to do the same.
- Make a donation of whatever size to the Market Basket strike fund.
- Share our page where Market Basket employees can contact us for help understanding and protecting their rights: http://www.ufcw.org/industries/retail-food/stand-up-at-market-basket/
Last Wednesday, more than 50 workers at Smithfield’s Farmland Food plant in Newport News, Va., voted to join UFCW Local 400, winning the election 47-5. Workers at the plant are uniting for a voice on the job. UFCW Local 400 will continue to work with Smithfield workers as they take action and address what they feel are key issues affecting workers at the plant.