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August 09. 2014 1:13PM

UPDATE: 'End the hostage-taking' Demoulas board members tell Arthur T.

Three independent directors on the Demoulas board of directors told ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas on Saturday to "end the hostage-taking" that has left Market Basket stores with few customers and withering sales.

"Twenty five thousand associates and 2 million customers shouldn't be held hostage for a business deal between shareholders," their statement read. "We all need to get back to work, stock our shelves and allow our customers to return to shop."

Arthur T. Demoulas, who wants to regain control of the Market Basket supermarket chain, rejected a proposal by the three independent directors to come back — but not as CEO — to help the current management team return the supermarket chain to normal while he attempts to broker a deal to buy a controlling interest.

"This is an attempt to have him stabilize the company, while they consider selling it to another bidder," Justine Griffin, a spokeswoman for Arthur T. Demoulas, said Friday night. "This is far too serious a situation for these games and attempts at window dressing."

At the Hooksett store Saturday, part-time worker Alyssa Douglas of Epsom, who isn't scheduled to work next week because payroll has been ordered slashed, said: "From the beginning, we've said we wanted our CEO back and nothing less and that's what we're fighting for."

Saturday's statement from the directors said "each side has sets of proposals to solve the impasse — there are enough proposed solutions out there to begin a serious negotiation. Business negotiations should not prevent our associates from earning a living or our customers from buying groceries. It is wrong to hold everyone hostage to gain a negotiation advantage.

"Let's end the hostage-taking and get together to work at finding common ground," the statement said. "We are ready meet, anytime, anywhere," said the independent directors.




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