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Ousted New England Supermarket CEO Returns Following Protests By Employees

Lawrence O'Donnell with the unusual story of a New England supermarket chain and the employees who risked everything to save the job of their CEO.
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As Lawrence O'Donnell noted in his Rewrite segment Thursday night, so much for the warped definition of "class warfare" and the working class being envious of the rich that Republicans like Mitt Romney and his ilk are constantly carrying on about. These employees proved that if you actually pay them well, respect them and act like you care about them, they'll stand up for you.

Here's more from The Boston Globe: Market Basket uprising’s success hard to replicate:

As celebration gave way to reflection the day after protesting Market Basket employees won the return of their leader, Arthur T. Demoulas, it remained unclear if the miracle of Tewksbury was truly a breakthrough moment for middle-class workers or a one-time phenomenon.

Ultimately what looked like a kamikaze mission ended in success, and as Demoulas offered thanks and congratulations Thursday morning outside company headquarters, one elated employee after another said they would do it again.

Yet so much had to break the Market Basket workers’ way that it is hard to draw a formula for replicating the movement at workplaces across the country.

For starters, they were aided by an uncommonly devoted customer base that threw in with the cause by honoring a boycott that helped paralyze the chain’s 71 stores. Employees of far more recognizable companies, such as Burger King and Walmart, have experienced nothing like the solidarity of Market Basket shoppers in their own labor actions.

That may be owed in part to the central role a supermarket plays in its community, and a dynamic where the customers and workers are also friends and neighbors, which allowed people who weren’t Market Basket employees to feel as if the fight was theirs, too. Read on...

Market Basket deal ends bitter feud:

The epic battle over Market Basket that sparked an extraordinary worker revolt and captivated the public through the summer ended Wednesday when Arthur T. Demoulas reached a deal to buy the company from rival relatives for more than $1.5 billion.

Market Basket’s shareholders announced the deal at 11:15 p.m. after several days of suspenseful negotiations. Arthur T. Demoulas and his sisters will buy the shares of their cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and other relatives on his side of the family, who collectively own 50.5 percent of the company. [...]

The agreement authorizes Arthur T. to manage the business and stabilize operations at its 71 stores, where employee walkouts and customer boycotts had brought business to a virtual standstill for six weeks. He will also be able to rehire several managers who were fired along with him. However, until the deal closes, he will continue to work with the chief executives hired to replace him, Felicia Thornton and James Gooch.

As word of the deal spread, employees of the company reacted with elation. Many walked off the job after Arthur T. was fired in June by a board of directors controlled by Arthur S. The employee protest crippled the company’s operations — giving Arthur T. leverage in the fight — but it also left many workers without income for more than a month.

“I’m elated. I’m elated. That is awesome,” said Andy Lien, a director of the chain’s perishable warehouse in Andover who led workers who walked off the job in July.

“It’s just fantastic,” said Ann Rogers, 55, a protesting employee who worked in the company’s accounts payable department. “I’ve been working with this company for 28 years, and this has been hanging over the company’s head the whole time. This fight was absolutely worth it.” Read on...

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