Today marks the deadline for Market Basket employees to return to work before the company begins seeking replacement workers through a series of job fairs. But with protesters still picketing outside Market Basket stores and headquarters, the showdown shows no signs of resolution.
Monday’s drama comes on the heels of a statement released Sunday by ousted Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, who has offered to resume running the supermarket chain as he continues to negotiate a deal to buy the company.
In the statement, released through spokesperson Justine Griffin of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, Demoulas said he and “his side of the family’’ are still negotiating to buy the 50.5 percent of the company they do not own. In the interim, he has offered to take the helm of the supermarket chain to “stabilize and begin to restore the business.’’
The statement reads in full:
Arthur T. Demoulas and his side of the family have been working around the clock to pursue their offer to buy the 50.5% of shares in DSM they do not own for a full and fair price. As part of his proposal, Arthur T. has also offered to move immediately to return to work in advance of the completion of the stock purchase and work to bring back his full team to stabilize and begin to restore the business. He offered to do so starting as soon as midnight tonight.
These steps are critical at this point and are in the best interests of Associates, customers, vendors and shareholders. Time is of the essence. Arthur T. is hopeful but resolution depends on the response of the other shareholders in order for an agreement to be reached.
The Market Basket board of directors, through a spokesperson, released the following statement in response to the proposal made by Arthur T. Demoulas, seemingly rejecting it but still allowing for continued negotiations for a sale:
“Demoulas Market Basket is considering strategic alternatives directly with parties in private conversations. We encourage the B shareholders, including Arthur T. Demoulas, to continue providing constructive proposals. Following the Board’s evaluation of all of offers, it will convey its recommendations to the Company’s shareholders who have the final decision as to which strategic alternative, if any, to accept. The Board fully supports the current management team in their efforts to ensure that Market Basket’s normal business operations resume immediately for the benefit of its customers, associates, vendors and communities.’’
Several management-level employees have been fired or resigned since Arthur T. Demoulas was fired by the board of directors, led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas. And depending on how things go today, others still may join them.