Guest post, James McGrath Grocery Manager Hudson

  • My association with Market Basket began as a sacker at Tewksbury #8. I have served the company for 12 years in two stints spanning 16 years and I am currently the Grocery Manager in Hudson, NH. I left the company for a while. It took four years away to finally realize how much I loved this company. Very early on in my Market Basket journey, values of hard work, loyalty, and respect were instilled in me first by guys like Kevin Feole, Jamie Cuneen, and Dan Riley, and later on by, Ron Leureaux, Bob O’Conner, Joe Whelan, and Marty Maguire. Market Basket expects much from us. We sacrifice time with our families working long hours and weekends. The Holidays are often a blur. I often joke that I see my coworkers more than my own family. With this being said, I have expectations too. Respect is a two way street. I work the long hours and sacrifice time with my family because I know Artie Demoulas, Senior Management, and the rest of my fellow associates are all making the same sacrifices. We’re compensated really well too. Our very generous compensation, and don’t think for a moment that I take that generosity for granted, makes it that much easier to push forward and go the extra mile and meet our often lofty goals because I know that, in the end, the company is going to reward us for all the hard work and sacrifice. I’ve heard it said that there is no loyalty in business. It’s all about the bottom line and share holder profits. I love that Market Basket is different. We’re all in this together. We’re all making money, associate and shareholder alike. That is how it had always been.
    As you all know, that all changed over this past summer. Until last July, most of us didn’t even know that there was a Board to be reckoned with. There was only one Boss, Arthur T. Demoulas, and we were perfectly content with that. Times were good. Market Basket was expanding with new stores and major remodels. Customers were coming in droves, people were newly employed, promotions were happening left and right, bonuses were being paid with much fanfare, the company was sharing with its associates, and everybody involved was benefitting from the direction Arthur T. Demoulas was taking us. Then the sh__ hit the fan, so to speak. Late one night, I read an article on boston.com stating that the board was going to fire CEO Arthur T. Demoulas over reckless spending and some questionable real estate deals. My first reaction was…WTF? The company is making money hand over fist. Our competitors absolutely fear us. This is crazy! Then it hit me, RECKLESS SPENDING! Plain and simple, they were after our bonuses and profit sharing. Not only that, the board was trying to use Artie’s generosity against him. I texted my Store Director, Marty Maguire, the link to gauge his reaction. The reaction from everyone I talked to was all around shock.
    The next morning I texted my best bud, Andy, to get his thoughts. He’s a former MB associate whom I grew up working with all through out high school and college at store #8. He works for an internet marketing firm specializing in social media and I suspected that he would have some ideas about how to get the word out and round up some support to counter what the board was doing. A half hour later, he texted me back with a link to facebook.com/savemarketbasket. I immediately called him and asked, “Is this you? Did you do this?”. He replied, “Yeah, it took me like ten minutes to do. The guys around the office don’t think I’ll even get ten likes…But this thing is big!”. Needless to say, there were over 8,000 likes by the end of the week and over 12,000 likes in total. That should be a lesson to the board. Never count us out! We are a force to be reckoned with as well. All that week was spent fundraising to help pay for signs to be printed, organizing a rally outside Tewksbury #8, and contacting local media outlets to gather awareness of the coming rally outside the board meeting in Andover. You all know the out come of that week but that was just the beginning.
    In the aftermath of that week, Andy said to me: “You know this isn’t over, right? It may never be over.” My thought at the time was that we won because Artie was still the Boss. Now that 6 months have passed, I think I better understand our situation. I have a feeling that this all ends when we finally lose our momentum and say: “What’s to worry? We still have our jobs, our bonuses, our profit sharing, and Artie’s still the Boss. Why are we still fighting?”. Arthur S. and his supporters on the board are waiting for just that moment. This is when our worst fears will become reality. Arthur S. and his backers will swoop in, give Artie the boot, and begin to chip away at our livelihoods just so they can fatten their wallets. This is why we must continue to fight on. We must shout out our support for Artie to anyone and everyone who will listen. I’m not sure about the rest of you but, Arthur T. Demoulas’ name is all over everything I own. His name is all over that beautiful dream home I bought a year and a half ago. If they take our bonuses away I’ll have to pack up and move. We’ve got a lot riding on this. I heard this past week that two members of senior management never received their December bonuses. That’s just the beginning. The board has now set a precedent. It’s only a matter of time before things like this begin to trickle down to store level. I encourage you all to remain vocal in your support of Arthur T. Demoulas and his vision for Market Basket. And to the members of the board, I plead with you to let Arthur T. lead this company without restraint because, if you do, he’ll make believers out of you as well.

    James McGrath
    Proud Associate of 12 years

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