If you live in New England as I do, unless you’ve been hanging out under a rock, you’re probably aware of the enormous drama playing out between the employees of the Market Basket supermarket chain and the corporate players who orchestrated a hostile takeover of the company, away from Arthur T. Demoulas, the beloved CEO of many years.
Apparently, a relative, Arthur S Demoulas, was instrumental in the takeover, playing out an old, generational financial feud with the Arthur T. side of the family. The feud has unfolded now into the current vision for the supermarket chain, with Arthur T. representing a more humanistic, personal, more employee-friendly and neighborhood-friendly mission for the company, while Arthur S. is viewed as the embodiment of corporate greed, planning to radically raise prices, and streamline employee policies, among other things.
What has been amazing to watch as a consumer and as a therapist, is the level of love, loyalty and support this ousted family-friendly CEO has garnered from not only employees, but shoppers all over New England. The unfolding “strike” among non-unionized workers, and the boycott of all the stores, lobbying for Arthur T.’s reinstatement, has been an awe inspiring example of what can happen when people have felt respected and cared about – how they will risk everything to stand up for people who represent ideals which are important to them, especially when those values are now threatened. This unfolding drama also illustrates how much difference one person can make in a system, how much impact we all potentially can have!
I would think it would be a wake up call for all employers about the huge impact treating their employees well can have, not only on morale, but also on the profitability of their businesses. Happy employees = good business. Employers who think they can motivate their staff with bullying, intimidation, and punishments are themselves relics of the Dark Ages. Inevitably, they will fail because employees need to feel appreciated, respected and defended, otherwise they will understandably be disloyal and unproductive.
And so, hats off to Arthur T., and to all you Market Basket employees for your courage, tenacity, and loyalty, in standing up for what your deserve and what you value. May you and Arthur T. prevail! ….And may all the rest of us take inspiration from your example.