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Basket case: Saga of a supermarket

In the Market Basket protests, we are witnessing something unusual, if not unique.

These are not workers demanding more money or higher benefits or union representation. They are not making a political statement or conducting an exercise in class warfare. These are blue collar employees picketing in support of an ousted CEO — because they love him.

How is that possible in a time when Americans are taught to believe that rich corporate executives do nothing but exploit their workers, that management and labor are always adversaries, never allies?

The reason seems to be that Arthur T. Demoulas spent his career treating his employees with dignity and respect, like trusted colleagues. Under his leadership, everyone was encouraged to rise to their potential. They were compensated well and trusted with responsibility. Everyone was trained to work as a team.

Analysts say this episode provides good public relations lessons for big companies. The more important lesson is one of management.


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