Setting the Record Straight

The Lowell Sun published a front page article from Grant Welker about the Board approving the bonuses on Thanksgiving Day.  Grant Welker has been a very good reporter on this story all along (see his other articles on the Links tab) but we feel he has missed the mark on this one or his editors clipped the article to fit.
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Giving Thanks

Copy of Demoulas store 1-169259.r

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”–Albert Schweitzer

After a day of sorting through all of the misleading and error filled information on the Board’s site, we feel it would be fitting to go into the holiday with a positive note.
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The Bonus Story

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”–Alfred North Whitehead

We are so grateful that ATD stood up and fought for our bonuses, we know the BOD didn’t give him what he wanted and they once again tried to blame him saying he didn’t give them enough time, that’s a crock and they once again tried to take the credit for the bonuses.  We can be pretty sure that without ATD we wouldn’t even be getting bonuses.  As BM stated in his letter ATD asked for $56 million and he got $44 million with $12 million deferred (doublespeak for denied).  Before you go crazy thinking that $9 million additional is a windfall let’s not forget the extra 2-3,000 new associates that will be sharing with us for the first time.

The increase that ATD asked for was to cover those new associates and to reward us for continuing to do a great job in spite of competition and uncertainty with this new Board. The Board, just weeks after giving the nine shareholders a $300 million dividend denied 22,000 associates the additional $12 million.  The BOD then tried to spin it by saying they “approved a substantial increase in the bonus pool” essentially trying to take credit for the bonuses that ATD stood up for and fought for.

“The increase in the size of the bonus pool reflects the Board’s appreciation for the dedication of associates over the past year in providing outstanding service to Market Basket customers in an increasingly competitive environment. The Board also noted that thanks to the associates, Market Basket continued to deliver “More for Your Dollar” to customers, and such extraordinary efforts deserved to be rewarded.”

The paragraph above, taken from the Board’s website is demeaning to us.  We know that if it was up to them we wouldn’t get a penny yet they try to fool us with their “appreciation” and “such extraordinary efforts deserved to be rewarded”they would have us believe that we are appreciated and our extraordinary efforts should be rewarded but not to the level that ATD appreciates our extraordinary service.

Mr. Cowan, Mr. Weiner and Mr. Gebaide, the best way you can show us your appreciation is to take the handcuffs off ATD, open Revere, Attleboro and resume construction on Waltham.  Then you can reward our extraordinary efforts by resigning.

ATD, Our Boss, Our ONLY Boss

“If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.”–Henry Kravis

Since the Board saw fit to slander ATD on a public forum we see it as only fitting that we use a public forum to tell everyone including our competitors that there is not a man or woman that we would rather work for and in fact, we won’t work for anyone else.  ATD is a man that is the personification of integrity, honesty, hard work, philanthropy and character.  To try and slander this man in a public forum with lies, half truths and misleading information is more than just wrong, it is criminal.  When you try to discredit this man to the very people that know him best is more than just ill-advised, it is futile.

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Profit Sharing

The Board had a few things to say about profit sharing after voting down ATD’s proposal for a 20% contribution.

Board voted to continue to make a contribution to all eligible Market Basket associates of the profit sharing plan at a level that is an increase over the prior year and at a percentage of eligible compensation (15%).
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A Letter from William Marsden (Part Two)

This afternoon, Mr. Marsden sent a letter to all associates in answer to the Board’s decisions of yesterday. As always with Mr. Marsden, his words speak clearly for themselves.

To: Market Basket Associates

From: William F. Marsden

Date: November 26, 2013

As promised, I am making you aware that the Board of Directors met on November 25, 2013 to vote on management’s proposals for a December bonus pool of $56 million for associates to share in and for a profit sharing contribution of 20% of eligible wages. The Board approved approximately $44 million of the $56 million requested for associates to share in and deferred making any decision on management’s recommendation for the $12 million difference from these two amounts. The Board also reconfirmed a 15% of eligible wage contribution to the Profit Sharing Plan, instead of the 20% recommended by management.
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The “Marsden Memo”

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”—Socrates

The letter sent from BM to all associates last week outlined ATD’s and management’s proposal to the Board for our annual December bonuses and profit sharing contribution. The Board states

“Unfortunately, the Marsden memo is misleading and riddled with errors, and the timing of its distribution five days before the scheduled Board meeting was not coincidental.”

That is a pretty general statement with absolutely nothing to back it up. What is misleading? What are the errors it is riddled with? The timing, coincidental with what? These numbers are shared with us every single year by ATD because it is an accomplishment for us and he shares with us as he always has. The extra money and profit sharing that was proposed by ATD this year was clearly stated in the letter because of our hard work, dedication and focus despite having to deal with three out of state (out of touch) directors from New York and Atlanta that know nothing about us, our industry, our culture, our management or what we stand for. The timing of the release was only a week early and it was done because the 22,000 associates from our company were anxious that there would not be a year end bonus. The numbers have never had to be released early before because we have always had confidence in our leader. We have no confidence in this Board. The fact that the Board just threw a sentence out there with nothing to back it up is a blatant attempt to influence you and make you believe it. The sentence itself is an outright lie and is riddled with errors.

The False Profits

Let’s see if you can pick up on a theme here…

“The Board agreed with management that Market Basket associates deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication notwithstanding the Company’s financial performance.

“based on management’s preliminary figures, it is clear that Market Basket’s profit margins will be lower than the prior year and that net income will be flat or less than prior years.

“the Board voted to increase contributions to the profit sharing plan and the bonus pool for associates, despite the fact that the company’s profitability is expected to decrease in 2013.

“The Board voted for the increased bonus pool, even though after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new stores and renovations in the past few years, the Company’s profit margins for the year are expected to be down for the fifth year in a row and net profits are expected to be approximately flat with 2012 results and consistently down since 2008.”

These statements make three things abundantly clear: The Board has no fundamental understanding of our business structure, they are charged with the simple focus of enhancing the shareholders’ wealth over all other things and they are laying the groundwork for a case to fire Arthur T. Demoulas and his management team.
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How dare they

“To speak evil of any one, unless there is unequivocal proofs of their deserving it, is an injury for which there is no adequate reparation.”–George Washington

The Board has attacked ATD and senior management of OUR company in an unprofessional and slanderous way on a public forum for all including our competition to see. They state

“The Board will also be very concerned if the disclosure to associates by Arthur T. Demoulas through Mr. Marsden of managements request for a “special bonus” for associates (a request that was never made in person by management to the Board prior to the memos disclosure) was a blatant attempt to influence associates.”
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The Day After…

“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.”—John F. Kennedy

Yesterday there was a lot on the line for us associates at the Board meeting. The Board posted on the website a lot of information that was misleading and outright lies. Today we will analyze, dissect and breakdown exactly what this means to us since they, as usual, speak to us like we are fifth grade children and they allow for no questions or comments on their site. We welcome any comments or questions on our website, www.wearemarketbasket.com, because after all, this is a website for factual information and it is YOUR website just as Market Basket is YOUR company.

Stay tuned throughout the day for updates because there is a lot of BS to wade through.