Independent directors of Demoulas Super Markets on Wednesday said they have still received no response to their offer last week to put ousted Market Basket president Arthur T. Demoulas and protesting associates back to work, saying the nearly month-long job action was “a no-win situation.”
The statement also applauded Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who in a press event Wednesday reportedly encouraged workers to return to work as soon as possible.
The directors last Friday said they had invited Arthur T. Demoulas and his senior staff to return to the company to work collaboratively with current management while he completes negotiations to acquire shares in the chain from majority shareholders. Demoulas has so far rebuffed that offer while employees — who have demanded his return to office — have continued staying away from jobs at Market Basket’s headquarters and warehouse.
That job action, along with an associated consumer boycott, has crippled sales at the chain.
Separately, new management has told some 200 employees to report to work by Friday or they would be considered to have abandoned their jobs and removed from the company. Such messages went out with a Monday deadline to additional workers Wednesday, reports said.
“Today, we applaud Governor Patrick’s statement encouraging all associates to return to work as soon as possible,” the independent board member statement said. “We, as independent board members, cannot force any shareholders to buy or to sell, nor can we control the timing of their decisions. All we seek is to get our Associates back to work earning a steady income so our customers can go back to shopping. In return, we can’t offer a resolution to the deal negotiations, but have and will continue to offer a way to return to normal while negotiations continue. Playing with fire that will hurt us all – associates, customers, and communities – is a no-win situation, and we all need it to end.
“It’s well past the time when anyone can frame the crisis as ‘us vs. them,’ or a ‘family feud.’ There are too many families being impacted by this. Rather, for good or ill, many are being asked to sacrifice their pay, their jobs, and their ability to shop at affordable prices in their own neighborhoods, against the hope that it will help one side achieve a preferred business deal rather than another. No one should ever hold 25,000 associates, 2 million shoppers and our local economies as leverage in a business negotiation.
“It is time to get everyone back to work. It’s been five days since we last proposed a solution that would work toward getting everyone back and bring the crisis to an end. That’s five days too long, and now time is running out.”
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