Seems pretty benign, but let's read between the lines.

By gillbilly on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 - 9:48pm

Anyone following the news about Market Basket Supermarkets in the Northeast? Non-union employee (over seven thousand) uprising in regard to the fate of this supermarket chain. CEO's across the country are watching carefully (and for good reason...I'm sure they are wee bit scared). The uprising is more than just about the company. Connecting the dots may be obvious, but I would like to hear comments.


Jim H's picture
Jim H
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A CEO who displays real humanity

This is an interesting case Gillbilly, and unfortunately a fairly rare one.  The (now ousted) CEO of this supermarket chain inspired such loyalty among his workers that they are now fighting for him.  It seems that he was a rare kind of leader who truly cared about the people;

Amid the struggles for control, it’s overwhelmingly clear where employee loyalty lies. Arthur T. was known for treating employees, who were not unionized, particularly well, with good benefits and above-average pay. More important, he was renowned as something exceptionally rare in high-power executive ranks: He’s just a good guy. During the rallies, employees spoke often about Arthur T. always having time for his workers, including frequent attendance at their family weddings and funerals.

“He’s George Bailey,” Trainor explained to the Washington Post, comparing Arthur T. Demoulas to the beloved savings-and-loan manager played by Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life. “He cares more about people than he does about money.”

I am a second generation employee of a large fortune 50 company that my Dad started working for in 1960.  In that time, I have seen this company transition from one that displayed real humanity in its operation, to the point that one of it's core guiding concepts was, "respect for the individual", to one that is now a complete creature of Wall Street, practicing constant lay-offs and debt-fueled stock buybacks in order to continue increasing EPS in the face of stagnant revenues.

In this earlier era, Corporations were often truly, legitimately paternal.  I will never forget how my father, who was a department manager for this corporation in the 60's and 70's, once got a call in the evening from one of his employees... who was facing some kind of a family health crisis and did not know what to do.  Who did he call?  His boss.  These days, a family health crisis which ends up taking your time away from work will likely get you a reduced rating at your next appraisal, because, you know, there is no humanity encoded into the appraisal business process.  It is a sad state of affairs.. but at least I can see it clearly, and will cut and run when the time is right.       

  What I am describing is simply a microcosm of the larger shift in our society... one where we are approaching what might be called, in the Eisensteinian sense, peak separation.  Large corporations could hardly act in a more non-human, non-humane manner than they do today... people are pawns that are moved around  (or fired) in the pursuit of ever increasing earnings, in support of the "shareholder"... the largest (individuals) of which are often the leaders of these companies.  I am often encouraged by my own manager to encode the work my folks do into robust, "business processes" so that some other adequately educated person could step in and take the place of the prior employee.  But real life does not work that way, and the experience borne of long careers cannot be boiled down into business processes.  We are at peak anti-humanity, peak separation.

.....The fact that the regime of separation appears to be reaching new heights, the fact that the whole globe is falling into the grip of the monetization of life and the commodification of relationship, the fact that the numbering, labeling, and controlling of the world and everything in it is approaching unprecedented extremes, does not mean that prospects for a more beautiful world are receding into the distance. Rather, like a wave rolling toward shore, the Age of Separation rears up to its maximum height even as it hollows out in the moment before it crashes. This crash, inevitable eons ago, is upon us today. As for the world that we can build thereafter, we can see glimpses of it in all the "alternatives" presented today with so little effect.

What are we to make of the fact that a story about employees defending their boss in the face of Corporate inhumanity, to the point of endangering their own jobs, makes national headlines?  That this is so rare, so unusual, is merely an indicator of how far along the path toward peak separation we are.  I for one look forward to the coming reformation.   

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Jim, I agree but

Thanks for your reply Jim. I agree that alienation in the system continues to increase, but I'm not sure we're at peak just yet. I think it can probably get a lot worse. But I also find it comforting to see so many people rallying behind a moral cause, even if it brings down the corporation itself. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Bankers Slave's picture
Bankers Slave
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Thanks Jim

you make for some good reading, and provide some thought provoking links as well.

gillbilly's picture
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Posts: 423
Follow up. Here's a good article.

Jim, Here's a good article I found in the Tampa Bay Times. People are beginning to question what a company is.

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