The 1% should take notice

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The 1% should take notice

Post by T on Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:43 pm

*The sale of the Market Basket grocery chain and return to work of 25,000 employees caps one of the most amazing sagas in American labor history.

*The job action that restored Arthur T. Demoulas to his role as company president, and ended a 40-year family feud through his acquisition of all remaining shares, succeeded beyond strikers' wildest hopes.

*A chain-wide strike that virtually shut down operations in 71 stores

*No business can stand such sales losses, let alone high-volume supermarkets, and the Arthur S. faction had only one option to avoid destroying the company

*It was always clear Arthur T. had the head for business, making lots of money even for the stockholders who opposed his every move.

*What ultimately makes a business work — not owners, solely, but management, workers and customers, an estimated 2 million of them. That's a lesson the whole nation could learn.

*For decades, Wall Street experts preached that management's only responsibility is to reward owners. Stock prices spiked every time a successful company cut staffing. Employees were expendable, declining wages were inevitable, and customers didn't care.

*This logic has driven concentration of wealth to the top 1 percent, gutted public services, and ended any effective representation for labor.

*The Market Basket story gives the lie to all those contentions.

*Customers do care about store employees. They identify with fellow workers struggling to put food on the table. And corporate success isn't necessarily defined by still more mergers and acquisitions.

*Labor unions, which once dominated the industrial economy, have been signally unsuccessful in organizing retail workers. The cooperation and even affection between management and workers at Market Basket suggests that once-despised "company unions" could be a new organizing model.

*Arthur T. wanted to channel profits into a major expansion in Maine, and opened a sample store in Biddeford. The Arthur S. faction instead devised a special $300 million payout to nine shareholders, more than $30 million per family — far more than most of us will see in a dozen lifetimes.

*The Arthur S. group behaved exactly as contemporary business owners should.

*What if Arthur T.'s approach — investing in the business and its thousands of employees — really works better for everyone, and increases value long-term?

*That insight would be not only miraculous, but revolutionary.

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