Governors’ Statement

Governor Patrick from MA and Governor Hassan from NH today released a joint statement regarding the sale of our company. The statement is as follows;

“In briefings today, all parties report that they are optimistic that an agreement will be reached to sell the company to Arthur T. Demoulas and to restore him to operating authority on an interim basis until the sale closes.  Subject to reducing their agreement in principle to writing by Sunday, the Board will forestall taking adverse employment action against the employees who have abandoned their jobs.  We are hopeful that employees will return to work, and the stores will reopen, early next week.”

While this certainly seems like good news to the MB Faithful we are being guardedly optimistic. We have not heard anything from ATD or anyone on his side of this deal. We have stated all along that our one goal was to restore ATD as CEO with full authority. We have been on this emotional roller coaster for five weeks now and while this appears to be good news it may very well just be the roller coaster at the top of the hill before it crashes down. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned to We Are Market Basket for information as we receive it…we don’t celebrate or go back to work until we hear it from ATD himself.

 

Boston Globe Magazine

http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/08/20/market-basket-meltdown-views-from-laura-sen-robert-reich-and-more/EIckAsHW0L8savR4TOqXXN/story.html

Why did JP Morgan sell 14% of their stock in Delhaize (Hannaford) on May 31, 2014?

As you can see in the attached document, JP Morgan is the 15th largest shareholder of Delhaize (Hannaford) with 678,000 shares. JP Morgan is the investment bank that has been hired by the Board of Directors (controlled by the ASD side) to handle the  sale of the company. It is also interesting that JP Morgan sold 14% of their shares in Delhaize (Hannaford) only 18 days prior to ATD being fired. JP Morgan’s responsibility here is to advise the A Shareholders (ASD) on who to sell the company to without disadvantaging the B Shareholders (ATD).

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1un_sG_BjN5tkUkzKQct97hnWwKIy-uTdRLd_m9tG_Hg/edit#gid=1978001093

Couple of good articles today

What is behind the Hannaford (Delhaize) bid?

Let’s think for a second about which supermarket is benefitting most from our protest and boycott. There is no doubt that Hannaford’s is seeing record volume day in and day out while we are trying to save Market Basket. We’ve all seen pictures of their parking lots being jammed and their help wanted ads from various newspapers. Our movement has been the best thing that has happened to them in a long time.

Now let’s think about the goings on in their Board room. We have all come to learn recently that Delhaize (Hannaford’s parent company based in Belgium) is the other bidder for MB. We can only surmise that it is their offer which is making ATD’s road to purchasing much more difficult…how can he compete with the deep coffers of that international, publicly traded company? (Ticker symbol on NYSE is DEG)

What stinks worse about the whole situation is the previously discussed connections among parties involved. Jim Gooch, two members of the Delhaize board including the chairman, JP Morgan and the MB Board’s independent members are each closely linked with each other. These people and entities are intricately involved in the sale of Market Basket and their involvement is, we believe, the key reason why ATD has not been able to complete his purchase of it. If ATD’s offering price is pre-crisis as has been reported, Delhaize wouldn’t still be in the running if theirs wasn’t in the same ballpark. Why would they be offering a premium bid for a business that has crumbled? Why have they not lowered or withdrawn their bid?

We fully understand that this is a free market system and that anyone who wants to be involved in the bidding should be involved if they are able. What disgusts us is the appearance of impropriety among some of the players. Hannaford’s is bringing in record revenues for Delhaize, thereby helping to line the cash reserves so that it can make the purchase. Our Board is allowing F&G to run the company into the ground and eliminating other suitors from the bidding which is helping to pave the way for Delhaize. JP Morgan is the bank hired by our Board to broker the deal and the Chairman of the Delhaize Board also works with them, they also run the 401k program for Hannaford’s employees.

Had we stayed inside and played nice with these people, the sale to Delhaize would be a slam dunk. By staying out and boycotting we have made their job more difficult but it is still their preferred path. As we all know, ASD would do anything to not sell the company to ATD. Delhaize is the perfect partner for him and the absolute wrong solution as far as we are all concerned. They are an international beast which has already changed everything about Hannaford’s, which used to be an independent and well run competitor and is now just another “all about profits” retailer. We don’t know how to go about getting them exposed as a danger to all that we are fighting for other than to write about them and spread the word. Perhaps some of our contributors can help us uncover more connections here.

The appearance of collusion here, coupled with the fact that the Hannaford management team told employees that the rumor of their involvement here is untrue, lead us to conclude that the game is rigged. Something stinks in Belgium.

If you’d like to let the folks at Delhaize know what you think, click here

 

Open Mouth, Insert Foot…Again

At first it was challenging to respond to the Board’s PR firm KEKST and the co-CEO’s PR firm O’Neill and Associates but at this point it is almost not worth doing because the Market Basket faithful can see right through these statements and rip them to shreds with little if any prompting from WAMB.

Today the company responded to the letter from Boston Sword & Tuna that was posted on WAMB and Save Market Basket FaceBook page as well as on Boston.com and Boston Sword & Tuna’s website. Naturally after that letter was made public there were several inquiries to the headquarters and a Market Basket spokesman released the following statement in response:

“When a distribution network set up over decades is shut down in one day it is naive to assume any company would not suffer. The longtime employees that ran Market Basket’s buying and distribution system walked out on their jobs, their customers and their vendors on July 18. That is precisely the reason Market Basket’s stores have had only limited perishable items in stock since. We do understand the problems that the shutdown of the distribution system has caused Market Basket’s vendors who are caught in the middle of this situation. We have been diligently working with vendors to limit the damage the walkout has caused.”

Oh, we get it, it’s the associates (your statement calls us employees again) fault. It wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t be the incompetent current management or the arrogant independent Board members, or the classless class A shareholders fault. Nope it’s easiest to blame the associates for their destruction of a company that ran like a well oiled machine, that always paid its bills with its vendors (we call them business partners) faster than any other company. We have the best people in the business, people that cared about each other and their company the fact that you fired ATD, Bill Marsden and Joe Rockwell shows what kind of corporate vultures you really are. In our company the manager always takes responsibility for the actions of those associates under them, whether it is a department head, store director or CEO you never, ever blame your people for your own shortcomings. Apparently Felicia, Jim, Keith, Ron and Eric, you missed that class at MBA school.

You were warned many times publicly and through letters and emails that you chose to ignore. You have threatened us and during the almost three weeks that you were running the company before the “walkout” how many of those associates involved in the buying and distribution system did you care to introduce yourself to or even say hello? We have a rule in our company, if you are within 10 feet of someone you acknowledge them. The ONLY thing you did in that timeframe was to try to get Attleboro and Revere on track and try to get loyal associates to take their fired bosses positions. Sorry folks but the blame here rests squarely on the puppet independent Board members and their two twice reaffirmed co-CEO’s.

What does the walkout  have to do with the fact that you have squandered company finances by allowing business partners to be OVER PAID? James Gooch we understand that your job as Chief Administration Officer and Company Treasurer was the accounting department. In just over a couple of hours research we have determined that you have over paid a grand total of $943,000 to just 6 of our business partners. What if we dig deeper and check on the hundreds of business partners we have, we are sure we will uncover a lot more that has been squandered and mis appropriated by the company’s current management. Your accounting mistakes have nothing to do with the associates walking out.

By the way, we associates did not walk out on our customers and business partners on July 18, the Board did that on June 23 when they fired Arthur T Demoulas.

WAMB

Letter from a Longtime and Loyal Business Partner

Owners of Boston Sword & Tuna End Relationship With Current Market Basket Management

We are one of several suppliers of fresh seafood to Market Basket- possibly the largest. We provide a variety of wild items typically found in retail markets throughout New England, including Cod, Haddock, Scallops, swordfish and tuna. The largest volume we provide is farmed Atlantic salmon from Norway- over 30,000 pounds per week. It is a great value for Market Basket customers, and has helped us grow our business with MB over the ten years we have worked together.

Part of why it is so affordable is that we commit to one-year contracts every year. It is a two-way contract, meaning we contract with our Norwegian partners to buy a set quantity at a set price for a full year, and Market Basket makes the same commitment to us.
When Market Basket stopped accepting deliveries, the impact on us was significant. The wild product meant we were immediately buying 25-30,000 pounds per week less- a significant loss of income. The farmed salmon was a different story- we could not simply “not buy”. It kept coming and we were suddenly in the position of having to sell an extra 25,000 of perishable seafood every week. We were forced to significantly discount the fish to sell it. Between that and the loss of wild seafood sales we were looking at the possibility of layoffs of up to a dozen or more employees.

Boston Sword & Tuna President Michael Scola was able to get an appointment with management about ten days into the job action. They were very professional, and very sympathetic. They offered to do what they could to offset our losses, short of paying for fish they were unable to receive. An agreement was worked out between the parties to pay us every week a portion of our losses, and to catch up on unpaid bills from before the firing of Arthur T- an amount well into six figures. The weekly payment was only a fraction of the contract, and a smaller fraction of our overall losses. They assured Michael that “this will be over in a few days”- according to them they had already begun hiring drivers and replacement staff for admin and warehouse. This was the third week of July. Mike left with a check for most of the aging and payment for one week of salmon losses.
We had no idea whether any other vendors of any items were being treated the same. Did meat companies have contracts? Were they getting offsetting payments? We had no idea- all we knew was that we were getting some help, and that at least for the time being we could avoid layoffs. At the same time there was little doubt in our minds that the new CEO’s had any hope of reviving the company as long as key workers and customers stayed away. We knew from our own contacts that the damage extended far beyond the customers and associates that were getting most of the media coverage- vendors like us, and businesses in shopping centers around the stores were all experiencing huge losses.

For the next ten days we watched as the CEO’s made one incredible strategic blunder after another. While we had no doubt that the decisions were coming from either the Board or the ASD shareholders, they seemed to do and say things that only widened the gap between the new management and all the stakeholders. We felt that the CEO’s were mere pawns (although very well compensated ones) who had been dealt a very bad hand.

This was driven home when after ten days we received no more payments, and the management stopped returning phone calls and emails. We consulted our attorney and drafted a short note which Michael sent to the managers respectfully informing them that if the promised payments were not forthcoming we would have to look at our legal options. Within 6 hours of that email Michael received a phone call from them, very apologetic about having missed his calls and emails. They assured us that she would address the missed payments at the end of the week. Michael provided them with a detailed aging, included the amount in an email, and stated the amount on the phone.

That Friday Michael was met off premises by a sub-contracted security man from Market Basket. He gave Michael two envelopes containing checks. When Michael returned to the office and opened the envelopes, he found we had been overpaid by $83,000. He notified management right away, and was asked to void the check with the overpayment and return it, which he did.

At the beginning of the following week management contacted Michael to tell him they had hired a new “perishables manager”. She would be calling him and expected to start filling the warehouse by the end of that week. This seemed to completely contradict news reports about the sides “furiously negotiating” and was not what we considered promising. Knowing what we know about logistics and distribution, we knew there was no way that this was going to happen. We began to fear that the ASD side was not negotiating in good faith and that the whole thing would come crashing down. We had little choice but to go along in the hope of protecting our employees. The end of the week came and went, and no agreement was reached, and no orders for seafood came.

Then last week the CEO’s issued their ultimatum. Everyone from the associates to the customers to the vendors knew where these orders came from. It was pointless to blame the CEO’s who were just following orders. Everyone also knew the ultimatum would fail.
The final straw for me came this past week. First Michael received a call from a person (who like other new management came from Albertson’s) saying that he expected to give us our first order next Tuesday August 19. The order would be for 71 cases of each seafood item we normally provided. He added that because he could not find a code for Norwegian Salmon, he would be putting the order in for sockeye salmon. The 71 cases represented one case for each of the 71 Market Basket stores.
Michael again provided management with detailed billing information by scanned aging, and by summarizing the amount in an email. On Friday, when Michael had left on a vacation, the same security officer from Market Basket delivered the most recent payment. Michael had instructed our office manager to deposit the check. Checking the next day he found that once again we had been overpaid- this time by over $415,000.

We were dumbfounded. In my mind there could be only two answers to these accumulating mistakes and self-destructive strategies. One was that the CEO’s were way over their heads. How many mistakes like this were being made? How would the shareholders from either side of the feuding family feel knowing that mistakes of this magnitude were being made. The only other explanation seemed to be a deliberate attempt to sabotage the future of the company. Every pundit with a knowledge of business has stated that the only viable buyer is Arthur T. Could the Arthur S side of the family be so embittered by the defiance of Arthur T and all the stakeholders supporting him that their plan is to sell him- at full pre-conflict price- a pile of smoking rubble?

Going public with these facts has been a very difficult decision for us. We have enjoyed a business relationship with Market Basket, its former owners and buyers, which many in business never get to experience. We think the time has nearly run out for saving this great institution and all those who depend on it. We felt it was time to come forward and share whatever fate awaits the Market Basket faithful. In our opinion, the only way forward is for the fired associates to come back.

Tim Malley
CEO Boston Sword & Tuna

We the People have Spoken…have you heard it now?

Tonight the customers gathered at the Tewksbury #8 store for a rally just for them, there were however several associates within the crowd. The speakers were absolutely great with their heart felt speeches, all of them speaking about how they would continue the boycott until ATD is returned as CEO with full authority. One customer in particular, Margaret Foley, spoke of how she has been hurt as a customer on EBT and Social Security and how her one trip to Hannaford’s cost her 2/3 of her monthly food stamps. This woman spoke of ASD’s greed and want of material things and how she doesn’t have much in the way of material things. You are so wrong Margaret, you may not have much in the way of material goods but you have more integrity in your little finger than ASD, Fotene, Dianna and Rafaela have in their whole body.

The main reason for this rally is our beloved customers do not feel that their story has been heard by the media, the Board and the Class A Shareholders. WAMB would have to say that the message was delivered loud and clear tonight and if the media doesn’t report it right or the Board and Class A Shareholders don’t hear it then they just never will. Many of the speakers spoke of two options for these corporate carpet baggers, bring ATD back or go bankrupt. That being said, if they refuse to listen to two million customers that are in complete control of our business then we guess Market Basket will cease to exist.

If there was one message that was delivered loud and clear tonight it was DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE US! We know these people have underestimated the associates many many times and each time we have made them look foolish, if they choose to underestimate YOU our beloved customers then the demise of Market Basket cannot be far behind. We are sure that F&G are getting reports from analysts that the Board has hired that are telling them all you have to do is fill the stores with products again and the customers will be back.

Maybe in Oregon, or Minnesota, or New York, or Georgia, but not in New England and not our customers. Do the right thing before it is too late. Like one of the speakers tonight said “we are not hostages and we are holding you accountable”

Did you hear that Felicia, Jim, Keith, Ron, Eric? You WILL be held accountable for the destruction of a once powerful, debt free company that had the perfect business model, people first, profits second. You have managed to nearly destroy our company in six weeks, that will be your legacy, none of you will ever find management or director work again.

WAMB

Week 5 Begins

We enter our fifth week of protest and boycott with our resolve stronger than at any other point. Today was deadline day for many who received threatening letters and when we showed up to the Tewksbury rally site this morning we were not surprised to see that all of those people were already there. Their bravery in standing up for something they believe, in the face of corporate intimidation, is inspiring. We all started this with a united sense of purpose to achieve one thing: bring back ATD. Such a simple message. For every single one of us it was and is a personal fight. While it has become a public spectacle from coast to coast, for those of us involved it remains the same

We could not maintain our pace if it were not for our customers. When we emerge victorious and the dust has settled and we have the luxury of looking back on all of this, the most amazing part will be the starring role that they played. We have always known that the relationship between us was strong but it had never been tested. At first the support was verbal but then it quickly turned into emails and questions of “what can we do?” and then a full fledged front was opened up by them. They boycotted. Think of how mind blowing that is in this day and age. Think of the inconvenience they took upon themselves to travel further and spend more. While we felt tremendous thanks for them when they initiated this, we soon realized that their role in this was natural…They ARE MARKET BASKET! Our culture, our family includes them.

As week five starts, our family is stronger than ever. The dynamic of who we are has changed for the better forever. When we get back to work we will all see each other in a different light and we will represent a brand that is the best in the country, not just in the supermarket industry but in all of the business world. We will have tremendous pressure to be better than ever and we promise you that we will be. We will rebuild from the mess that ASD, F&G and the BOD have created and we will welcome all who come by to see what all the fuss is about. We desperately look forward to going back to the jobs that we love and the company that is our home. We are certain it will happen and we have the strength and resolve to see this protest through until it does.

We will never be able to express our thanks to our customers for their support.

Felicia’s Wisdom

Today, Felicia “Golden Parachute” Thornton sent a directive to the stores which included a whole lot of nonsense along with the lines attached below. In the midst of trying to run this company into the ground, she found the time to issue such important guidance which includes taking down pictures of ATD and the compassionate demand of taking down any mention of the Truck Driver Fund.

This woman who is trying to fill ATD’s role as CEO while driving Bill Marsden’s company car could not be further from who we are in any way, shape or form. The culture of Market Basket is a culture of caring. Look around right now and you will see a family taking care of each other in every way imaginable as we try to save our company. Symbolic of that caring has been the Fund which has meant so much to so many. Her words are symbolic of her beliefs that corporate America has no place for compassion or family. We can understand her desire to pull down the pictures of ATD because he is everything she will never be and she feels threatened by his presence, but to pull down the Fund or any mention of it is not fathomable.

We call on all stores to put up more signs and pictures. Let’s make bumper stickers available to all of our associates and customers, whether they are boycotting or shopping the aisles. Wear your pins with pride! As of for the Fund, let’s make sure that buckets are at all entrances and that everyone knows what the address is for mailing a check.

PO Box 751
Tewksbury MA 01876
Checks payable to MB Whse and Truck Driver Fund