Target: Steve Paulenka, former facilities and operations supervisor at Market Basket
Goal: Show support for supermarket employees who are taking a stand against corporate greed
New England residents are facing higher prices at the grocery in the wake of turmoil at much-loved local supermarket chain Market Basket. Striking employees and managers at the grocery store are leaving aisles unstocked and fresh produce rotting in storerooms in opposition to beloved president Arthur T. Demoulas being fired from the board of directors. More than just a power play, this move signaled an abrupt shift from a corporate environment that prioritized employee wellbeing and customer satisfaction to one favoring corporate and shareholder greed. Support Market Basket’s employees, reestablish Arthur T. Demoulas as president, and restore the supermarket’s unparalleled access to inexpensive and quality food.
The grandson of Market Basket’s founders, Arthur T. maintained policies under which employees and customers thrived and corporate profits soared – a feat that many corporations fighting minimum wage initiatives claim to be impossible. Full-time clerks at Market Basket start at $12 an hour, four dollars above the current Massachusetts minimum wage. Long-term full-time employees earned more than $40,000 while managers often had six-figure salaries. The company also matched 15% of an employee’s annual salary to their retirement account and gave workers substantial bonuses, policies that are almost unheard of among supermarket chains.
Not only did full-time Market Basket employees benefit from the store’s generous policies, but its many devoted customers did as well. Market Basket’s parking lots were packed full from open to close, with customers often going out of the way to take advantage of the store’s low prices and great quality, prices that were often even lower than those of nationally known cost-cutter Walmart. The extremely affordable chain usually offered prices 10% to 20% lower than other supermarkets.
When Arthur T.’s cousin, Arthur S., ousted him as president, his first act was to distribute $250 million of Market Basket’s profits to its shareholders, setting an immediate precedent for putting corporate greed over the store’s long-held values of generosity and community. The board is also considering selling Market Basket to the corporation that also owns supermarkets Shaw’s and Star Market. In retaliation, Market Basket employees and concerned customers are picketing at branches across New England, showing their support for Arthur T. and the company that Market Basket has been for so long.
Stand with the protestors who have seen firsthand how corporations that put benevolence before greed and the interests of the many over those of the few can create successful businesses and strong and thriving communities.
Dear Steve Paulenka,
As one of the executives fired over inciting employee protests against the recent disturbing changes at Market Basket, you, along with many of your colleagues, have been with the company for decades. You’ve witnessed how a profitable company can simultaneously benefit its shareholders, executives, employees, and customers. Market Basket’s generous policies were what made it an important and special place in New England. Please continue to fight against corporate greed and thank you for inspiring others, employees, customers, and community members, to stand up for this local establishment.
Unlike the employees of other supermarket and large retailers, the staff of Market Basket values their workplace and cares about its future. This kind of loyalty is rare; it’s earned by generous policies, respect for hard-working employees, and a commitment to community. And just as employees are protesting for the preservation of their beloved store, former customers who are equally devoted to a store where their hard-earned dollar went further are also striking by spending their money elsewhere, often at an extra cost to them.
Thank you for standing up against corporate greed in spite of the personal risk to you. It’s vital for the wellbeing of our communities and our economy to value workers over shareholders and customers over astronomical profits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Cybah via Wikipedia Commons