Here are the takeaways from Friday’s action in the ongoing Market Basket saga.
Market Basket employees and customers say they plan to keep up their protest efforts until Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated as the company’s CEO. On Thursday, protest organizers told Boston.com that their message remains the same: Boycotts and rallies until Demoulas is back. They reinforced that point at Friday’s rally, in interviews following the rally, and in a post on the Save Market Basket Facebook page.
We also know that the board, which issued a statement Friday afternoon about its meeting, is still standing by Felicia Thornton and James Gooch as co-CEOs. The statement urged employees to get back to work, which is something workers have said they would not do with Thornton and Gooch in charge.
So we can expect—barring something happening, of course—the boycott and worker action to continue into the weekend.
We also know that the Market Basket board of directors, which includes Demoulas’s cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, is open, at least publicly, to consider a deal from Arthur T. to buy the company, as Arthur T. offered to do earlier this week. However, the board’s statement sure made it sound like it’s fielded or willing to field other offers, dovetailing with a Boston Globe report published late Thursday night saying much the same. The board’s statement read:
“Consistent with its fiduciary obligations, the Board will evaluate and seriously consider this proposal, along with any other offers previously received and to be received. Following its evaluation of all of the offers, it will convey its recommendations to the Company’s shareholders.”
“Consistent with its fiduciary obligations” is standard corporate speak that can be used for pretty much anything involving money—including the fielding of offers. And the statement doesn’t say the board will definitely opt to sell, or jusy how strongly it would consider any offer. But it’s about as clear an acknowledgment as there has been yet that it’s an option.
The notion of a sale to an outside party has been at the heart of the employee movement since it began last summer, and has resonated since protests kicked into full force upon Demoulas’s firing in June. A buy-out from Arthur T., though, would be sure to satisfy employee demands.