Gov. Patrick: Market Basket Dispute ‘Out of Hand’

Gov. Deval Patrick offered to lend a hand to solve the dispute that has left supermarket shelves empty and many employees without paychecks.
Gov. Deval Patrick offered to lend a hand to solve the dispute that has left supermarket shelves empty and many employees without paychecks.
Jim Cole/AP

The battle for Market Basket has at last engulfed Governor Deval Patrick.

Patrick penned a letter to the board of directors of the company Friday offering to lend a hand to solve the dispute that has left supermarket shelves empty and many employees without paychecks, the Boston Globe reports.

According to the Globe, Patrick noted that he would not take sides, but would offer any help to resolve the standoff and return employees to work.

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“By any measure, the disruption caused by your recent change in CEO has gotten out of hand, and I am writing to urge you to find a prompt resolution,” Patrick wrote. “Your failure to resolve this matter is not only hurting the company’s brand and business, but also many innocent and relatively powerless workers whose livelihoods depend on you.”

The language was unusually harsh as Patrick seemed to explicitly condemn the conduct of the board thus far. It puts more pressure than before on the Market Basket CEOs to get the company up and running once again.

Governor Deval Patrick has until now insisted that he would remain above the fray, calling the battle a private matter and flatly refusing to intervene.

Market Basket employees were growing increasingly impatient. Some pointed out that many other public figures such as Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire have voiced support for the employees who left work to protest the ousting of president Arthur T. Demoulas last month.

It seems as though the developments of the last few days, when CEOs announced that Market Basket would dramatically slash employee hours, changed Patrick’s mind.

Supermarket managers informed employees that they would no longer be scheduled for shifts during the upcoming week. Though Market Basket CEOs insisted that those workers were still employees, the news sparked widespread outrage over what many protesters considered sweeping layoffs.