Guest Post from Mark Owens, Store Director

During the 2012 election there seemed to be a groundswell of attention and empathy generated by the “Occupy” movement. Their refrain was that the one percent of the population, represented by millionaires like Mitt Romney, controlled 99% of the wealth in our country. The 99% of the rest of us were scraping by on the crumbs left over. The rhetoric used to describe the one per centers was that they did not CARE for the people they employed. These people were a means to an end. If the business owner could make more money by downsizing then why not “lay off” excess employees? If it proved to be more profitable to close their business altogether and relocate to another country to take advantage of cheaper labor then why not? The “occupy” movement claims that the last twenty years or so have been a war on the middle class. Wages stagnated, benefits trimmed or eliminated altogether. Costs to families for health care and insurance rising at ten times the pace of inflation…
Welcome to 2013 and the attempted takeover of one of America’s biggest success stories. Market Basket is the strongest privately held supermarket in the Northeast. Upwards of five stores opening in a single year. These new stores are immensely popular, both to its employees as well as its customers. The CEO is focused on his employees welfare. The work is demanding and the rewards are commensurate with those efforts. There is a bonus system in place to reward the employees for their hard work and for their efforts at customer service. There is a profit sharing plan that funds a pension for those employees. This plan is fully funded by the company. Each employee is rewarded with fifteen percent of their wages being allocated to their pension. The employee is not required to match or donate in any way.
Is there any wonder why these same employees rally to the side of their beloved CEO? Arthur T. Demoulas is not the villain of this story. He is the exception to the rule of “PROFITS BEFORE PEOPLE”. His model is “GIVING BACK TO THE PEOPLE”. Sharing the profits of Market Basket with his employees and our customers by keeping the prices low.

Now enter the villain, who is a billionaire in his own right. He wants to milk the company for more profits. This person does not CARE about the employees. He said he wants to raise our MARGINS. This is business speak for RAISING prices. He wants to slash costs, another euphemism for cutting benefits.
Where are all the 99 per centers? Where are all the front page stories touting the epitome of a FAIR CEO? Where is the outrage against the greed of the usurper? Why aren’t there tent cities in all the plazas where there is a Market Basket?
This is our battle because we work here. It is your battle if you shop here. It is your battle if you have been downsized, laid off, outsourced or have seen your company contribution to your pension eliminated. There is also little doubt that the prices at ALL OF OUR COMPETITORS are lower with Market Basket in the marketplace than if we are not. Our low prices force those competitors to try and compete. Rhetorically then, if you shop in the competition THIS is your battle as well.
I am not a “facebooker” or a “tweeter” and a lot of my colleagues are like me. We are the silent majority who choose to work at this great company for a great man. I will start my thirty third year November 30th supporting Arthur T. for as long as I am able. THIS IS MY BATTLE AS WELL.

MARK OWENS
STORE MANAGER
STRATHAM NH #26

Comments

  1. Excellent post, Mr. Owens. Glad to hear your perspective on everything. Stay well, and stay strong, MB!

  2. I am not a Market Basket employee, I’m a customer. But I wasn’t always a Market Basket shopper; it’s only been in the last 10 years or so that I’ve come to find Market Basket stores to be cleaner, more organized, have better product selection, better quality produce, and more helpful employees – and more recently with the opening of newer, renovated stores (Reading, Haverhill, Salem NH) it’s more welcoming than anywhere else. I’ll go out of my way to shop at MB rather than go somewhere more convenient. I can’t understand the desire of the Board to mess with that success. You’re gaining market share because of the positive changes, *you have Stop and Shop running scared* and yet the powers that be don’t see that the company will repeat the problems that Stop and Shop had if they continue this path. Don’t go there. Don’t mess with the positive changes that have come down the pike. There’s a groundswell of opposition to CEOs and Boards being paid so much more than employees. Don’t go there. Don’t risk alienating your customers.
    Good luck to the staff, and best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.

  3. Anne Commenator says:

    Awesome post! I’m with all of you 500+%

  4. Thank you Mr. Owens! You can count me as a fellow 99%er right along with you! I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving! May we all have lots to be thankful for this year!

  5. Eleanora wynne says:

    So true. This is a battle for all of us who work, shop, live and breath market basket. We should and probably all do stand behind and fight for Arthur .T Demoulas. After all, he is the reason ” we are Market Basket”

    Eleanora Wynne
    Bakery Manager
    Store# 48

  6. Mark, I have always said that you should have been a novelist.
    You have sumized our situation to a “T”.
    May we all stay banded together and ” in lockstep with ATD”

  7. CiNdy whelan says:

    Great post, Mark. I am hopeful that more and more people of your caliber find their voice and speak their minds. This IS our battle, and there IS strength and safety in numbers. A heartfelt thank you!

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