Late yesterday afternoon, Market Basket’s new CEOs released a PR statement that got a lot of attention all over the world (I’m not kidding). The headline in today’s Daily Mail, UK, “Grocery chain threatens to sack ALL its workers unless they return to work from mass protests to save “It’s a Wonderful Life CEO who lost control of the company.” The article can be read here.
The CEOs’ statement “We want Market Basket associates back to work…” And it states that they are going to hold a job fair to replace workers starting Monday August 4–August 6th. The whole statement can be read here.
The manipulative implication of the PR statement is that no one is working at the Market Basket stores. And it wasn’t only the UK’s Daily Mail that came to that conclusion, papers all over the country and the world came to the same conclusion as well (the PR statement exploded on Twitter and Facebook yesterday afternoon and evening).
My take, the PR statement was designed to cause panic, fear, anger–anger at the Market Basket employees, and to make folks think that the employees aren’t working, when they are.
It could also be a PR ploy to get the word out, that the stores are actually running (although devoid of, as of yesterday, dairy, produce and meat). A test to see if customers actually return.
I only know about our Market Basket in Newburyport. ALL of the employees are working (some of their hours have been cut back). The employees are protesting on their days off and on their breaks. No trucks from the warehouse have been refused. Many Market Basket managers and assistant managers have signed a petition promising to resign unless Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated as their boss. BUT, they have not resigned because, the Board of Directors (at least as I write this) has not announced any decision, so they are very much on the job.
How do I know this, I’ve gone over to Newburyport’s Market Basket any number of times to see what is going on for myself.
These folks, the new CEOs, are playing real mean, manipulative hardball. And as of last night it has become not only a local and national story, but an international mega story as well.
The “David vs. Goliath story, a ‘Tale of Two Arthurs’ and even the ‘ultimate Greek tragedy,” To quote the UK’s Daily Mail, has now captured the imagination of the world.
A PR set-up by the CEOs, and may it backfire big time.
The anger that I feel is towards the existing Board of Directors and new the CEOs that they hired.