Market Basket victory: worker-friendly, fair business trounces looting klepto-investors


#1

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Why (or why not) to vote for Bernie Sanders
#2

I’m delighted to see this end for the better; but I’m honestly baffled by the fact that it came to this in the first place.

This wasn’t a “Mom and Pop’s store was always good to its employees but just couldn’t compete with old fashioned ideas like that” thing. This was a profitable (if memory serves, at or above expectations for the grocery sector) entity that also had favorable employee treatment, bringing in someone from Radio Shack, a wildly unimpressive example of the genre and story of slow, pathetic, failure for about the past decade to do, um, something, because reasons.

That’s not a fight over capitalism, that’s a fight over whether it’s better to have an economy or run a chop-shop(which, sadly, is conflated with capitalism). Even if Market Basket had been a tight-fisted slave labor operation chopping them up as part of some sort of financial sleight of hand job would still have been anathema to an actual economy that actually produces stuff, though the victim would have been less sympathetic.


#3

Glad to hear that the latest installment of this long-running local family kerfuffle will finally fade from the news. Again. Back to mawkish, insipid “human interest” stories for the Boston Globe…and faux-populist outrage headlines in the Boston Herald. Summers over.


Should employees choose their own job titles?
#4

As I understand the story, there’s profit, and then there’s PROFIT. The fable of the goose that laid the golden egg comes to mind.


#5

Incidentally, killing the goose to get the gold inside would have been a rational strategy if they had simply securitized the expected yield of killing the goose, used the goose’s past productivity to hype its value, sold the securities to ‘sophisticated investors’ for cash up front, and then killed the goose.

Or, um, so reading the news seems to suggest.


#6

A few hundred hourly workers just changed the course of a multi billion dollar company

Some days I just really appreciate living in Massachusetts.


#7

That’s nice. Thanks for lifting my spirits.


#8

Came for the “epic threat in our BBS,” left disappointed – yay!!

(This message brought to you by the Publish button – world’s best spell-checker since 1999.)


#9

The threat, man, is like, to the dominant paradigm, you know? It’s like, workers unite, man- That’s like, a threat to the corporate overlords who have to maintain their corrupt power structures, you know? You get it? We’re the threat, man. Like, they know that once the proletariat wakes up, man, their world is over, man.


#10

This is precisely the problem with capitalism, at least as currently structured in the US: greater profits accrue to the owner class by extracting value, rather than creating value: since the latter is generally done by workers, it is both devalued by our current economic framework and by our culture generally.

Another classic example is the way Wall Street loves Walmart for aggressively crushing any attempt at worker organization, and for aggressively minimizing their spending on worker salaries, and hates Costco for treating their workers relatively well and considering them an investment in the company. That Costco is going up and Walmart down matters little. Walmart doubtlessly provides better immediate returns for shareholders, and most importantly upholds Capitalism’s cultural values.


#11

From what I recall of previous reading about this, there was a strong element of family drama in all this. Some articles linked in previous Boing Boing threads about all this mentioned that, a generation or so back, the branch of the family the beloved CEO came from screwed his cousin’s branch out of their portion of the company. After a lawsuit, they were eventually awarded a large stake in the company again, setting the stage for this takeover.

I suspect spite is a not insubstantial component of the rationale here.


#12

The way I understand it- And I may be injecting my own biases into it- is this:

Grandpa Athanasios “Artie” DeMoulas and his brother started the store around 1915, and ran it for most of their lives before retiring and selling the store to their sons, Telemachus and George. From the mid-1950s through 1971, George and Telemachus expanded to 15 stores, when George died of a sudden heart attack.

Telemachus continued running the stores, while paying profits to his cousin George’s family who still owned half the company. During this time, he also began moving assets between divisions and shell companies in an effort to gain more control and a greater share of ownership. It is also during this time that he brought his son Arthur Telemachus into the business, and grew the company considerably.

In the early to mid 1990’s, George’s heirs (including Arthur S) sued, claiming that they were defrauded by Telemachus and Arthur T, and were left with only 8% of the company. A court found in their favor, and awarded them additional shares of the company to bring their total ownership to 50.5%. Despite this, Arthur T was elected to CEO in 2008.

In 2013, the board unsuccessfully attempted to remove Arthur T. He was then fired in 2014 during what looked like an attempt by the majority shareholders to squeeze money out of the company and then sell.

98 years of family politics, fraud, and freeloading- It’s easy to see where tempers could get involved.

My take is this:

Artie T and his father illegally tried to gain ownership of the company that they were successfully running, away from the half of the family that were sitting back and letting them do all the work.

I think they were justified in keeping the lion’s share for themselves, but went about doing so in an unethical and illegal way, and it bit them in the ass.

Again, I see it as a macrocosm of the kind of capitalism that makes money by working hard and building things, versus the kind of capitalism that makes money by owning things and taking credit for other people working hard. I am unapologetic in my biases.


#13

Those are the best kind of hand jobs!


#14

Yep, that fits my understanding of the articles I read (and that you likely posted).


#15

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