Thursday Reads: A Victory for Workers, Women Overcoming Misogyny, and Other News

Market Basket employee Tony Khater (left) celebrates with store director Al Jussaume (right) after learning of the sales agreement.

Market Basket employee Tony Khater (left) celebrates with store director Al Jussaume (right) after learning of the sales agreement

Good Morning!!

Score one for the workers! The Market Basket war is over and the the good guys won for a change. Late last night Arthur T. Demoulas signed an agreement to buy out his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas’ share of the business for $1.5 billion.

From The Boston Globe:

The epic battle over Market Basket that sparked an extraordinary worker revolt and captivated the public through the summer ended Wednesday when Arthur T. Demoulas reached a deal to buy the company from rival relatives for more than $1.5 billion.

Market Basket’s shareholders announced the deal at 11:15 p.m. after several days of suspenseful negotiations. Arthur T. Demoulas and his sisters will buy the shares of their cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and other relatives on his side of the family, who collectively own 50.5 percent of the company.

In a statement stripped bare of the emotion of recent days, the company and its shareholders asked managers, employees, and customers to return to stores to help get Market Basket running again. It also announced the reinstatement of Arthur T., who had been fired as president in June.

Market basket2

“Effective immediately, Arthur T. Demoulas is returning to Market Basket with day-to-day operational authority of the company,” the statement said. “All associates are welcome back to work with the former management team to restore the company back to normal operations.”

The sale agreement, which will take months to formally close, ends a fight so bitter it took the intervention of the governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire to help the Demoulas family resolve it after nearly a quarter-century.

The agreement authorizes Arthur T. to manage the business and stabilize operations at its 71 stores, where employee walkouts and customer boycotts had brought business to a virtual standstill for six weeks. He will also be able to rehire several managers who were fired along with him. However, until the deal closes, he will continue to work with the chief executives hired to replace him, Felicia Thornton and James Gooch.

Forbes: Warring Billionaires Finally Settle Family Score With Market Basket Deal.

Market Basket’s 25,000 employees will be heading back to work following a summer of discontent. The New England supermarket chain has been rocked by protests and customer boycotts since Arthur T Demoulas was ousted as President and CEO June 24th. He and his team, many of whom were also fired during the crisis, will be reinstated as management while the deal wraps up. They’ll work alongside co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch, who were brought in by the board after Arthur T and his management team were removed.

“Effective immediately, Arthur T. Demoulas is returning to Market Basket with day-to-day operational authority of the company,” reads a statement from Arthur T. “All associates are welcome back to work with the former management team to restore the company back to normal operations.”

“Tonight we raise a glass to Artie T and each other as we have achieved the most improbable of upsets,” writes the anonymous blogger behind website wearemarketbasket.com. The website as well as social media have been key sources of information for employees refusing to work following Arthur T’s dismissal. “Tomorrow we go to work and never, in the history of people going to work, will so many people be so happy to punch the clock.”

Arthur T2

Arthur T. will address workers this morning, according to the Boston Herald; but in the meantime, the job of restocking Market Basket shelves in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine has begun. From AP (via ABC News), Deliveries Roll Following Deal in Supermarket Feud.

Tractor-trailers bearing the Market Basket logo and laden with the tons of food it will take to restock the chain’s 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, as well as vendor vehicles, pulled up to loading docks before business Thursday, just hours after the announcement late Wednesday that Arthur T. Demoulas paid $1.5 billion for shares of the company owned by the rival family faction, led by cousin Arthur S. Demoulas….

“All associates are welcome back to work with the former management team to restore the company back to normal operations,” Arthur T. Demoulas said in a statement

“I feel like I won the lottery,” Market Basket truck driver Buddy Wemmers told The Boston Globe.

“I’m thrilled, this is epic,” said Tom Trainor, a district supervisor, told the Boston Herald.

Gary Sessa, a front end manager at the chain’s Tewksbury store, told WFXT-TV that company bakers came in at midnight after hearing the news and started baking cakes that say “Welcome back Artie T: Market Basket Strong.”

It does my heart good to see the workers win this battle. I hope this will encourage others to stand up against efforts to make businesses less worker-friendly and more profitable for stockholders. Perhaps it will even convince a few CEOs that treating their employees with respect can pay off in the long run.

Will Misogyny Never Die?

Kirsten Gillibrand with her preferred candidate for President

Kirsten Gillibrand with her preferred candidate for President

Senator Kirstin Gillibrand has a book coming out, and yesterday People Magazine released some tidbits from their interview with her. It seems that the mostly elderly men in Congress who are making decisions about women’s health and working conditions feel entitled to make judgmental remarks about their female co-workers’ bodies. The Washington Post reports: “I like my girls chubby,” a male Senator told Kirsten Gillibrand. Yes, really, by Jaime Fuller.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) has a new book coming out, “Off the Sidelines,” and has been making the media rounds to promote it. The New York Post highlighted parts of the book today, in an article titled, “Gillibrand: Male colleagues called me ‘porky’ after baby.”

As awful as that headline is, things get worse in the book, according to the story. One quote in particular stands out. Gillibrand reveals that one male Senator, after she lost about 50 pounds, came up behind her and gave her waist a squeeze. “Don’t lose too much weight now,” he told her. “I like my girls chubby.” She says that he was one of her favorite senators(!).

As Gillibrand’s title infers, the book goes into detail about the things that women in politics still have to deal with that their male counterparts, well, don’t….

Gillibrand surely isn’t alone in having to deal with such comments with her male colleagues at the Capitol, although some of her encounters are jaw-droppingly bad/offensive. When she was still in the House, a Southern representative told her, “You know, Kirsten, you’re even pretty when you’re fat.”

I only wish Gillibrand had named names.

Fuller includes a link to this 2013 article by Olivia Messer at the Texas Observer, The Texas Legislature’s Sexist Little Secret in which she writes about what she experienced and observed as woman reporter covering the Texas legislature. The stories are probably representative of legislative bodies (pun intended) around the country.

It didn’t take me long to realize that as a woman, and especially a young woman, I’d be treated differently than my male colleagues. Within weeks, I’d already heard a few horrifying stories. Like the time a former Observerstaffer, on her first day in the Capitol, was invited by a state senator back to his office for personal “tutoring.” Or, last session, when Rep. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton interrupted Marisa Marquez during a House floor debate to ask if her breasts were real or fake.

Thankfully I never experienced anything so sexually explicit. Instead, I encountered a string of subtle but demeaning comments. One of the first interviews I conducted for the Observer, in February, was with a male senator about an anti-abortion bill. I was asking questions about whether the bill would reduce access to abortion. At the end of the interview, as soon as I turned off my recorder, he said, “How old are you, sweetheart? You look so young.”

Another day, near the end of the regular session, I was at the Capitol (doing interviews for this story, coincidentally) when a House page stopped me on my way out of the chamber. “I’ve never seen you in here before,” he said. “Who do you work for?” I answered the question, assuming that he wanted to see my press badge. “Well, uh, this may seem forward,” he stammered, “but I’m not sure if I’ll ever see you again—could I maybe take you out to lunch or dinner some time?” He looked about 16, red-faced and innocent. I politely declined. When I walked over to the Senate chamber, a staffer stopped me. “Wow,” he said. “You look really beautiful today.” My face turned red. I thanked him and walked to a seat at the press table. It was the third time that day the staffer had mentioned my appearance, and I was beginning to feel that what I looked like mattered more than my work—at least to the men in the building. At a certain point, after enough of these run-ins—which included male staffers from both chambers, some of whom I knew to be married, hitting on me, making comments about my physical appearance, touching my arm—it finally occurred to me that, when I was at work, I was often fending off advances like I was in a bar.

What surprised me was how many women who work in the Capitol—legislators, staffers, lobbyists, other reporters—felt the same way. Everyone, it seemed, had a story or anecdote about being objectified or patronized.

Messer’s article is long, but it’s fascinating reading. At one point she writes about the night Wendy Davis and her female colleagues “took over the capital” and filibustered an anti-abortion bill.

Here’s another great commentary on the Gillibrand story by Olivia Nuzzi at The Daily Beast, Senate Pigs Called Kirsten Gillibrand ‘Porky’.

Clueless Politico reporter John Bresnahan

Clueless Politico reporter John Bresnahan

Naturally, these stories about sexism among male politicians were all over Twitter yesterday. One male Politico writer named John Bresnahan doubted whether Gillibrand was really telling the truth. He got shot down pretty thoroughly and later apologized and stopped tweeting for the night. Even plenty of young men like Bresnahan just don’t get it.

Politics isn’t the only field where men treat women like pieces of meat. Women in the tech field usually have plenty of horror stories about things their male colleagues. Here are just a few random links to stories about it from the past couple of years.

The New York Times, Technology’s Man Problem.

The Washington Post, Snapchat, sexism and the reason women don’t stay in tech.

The Washington Post, Google statistics show Silicon Valley has a diversity problem.

Alternet, High-Tech Industry Focused on Babes and Boobs Needs Killer Sexism App.

Business Insider, 9 Stomach-Churning Posts From Secret That Show Awful Sexist Behavior In The Tech Industry.

Women who write critically about video games–or even play games on-line–are targets for hatred and violent threats. This isn’t the first story like this I’ve seen: Feminist video game critic forced to leave her home after online rape and death threats. Raw Story reports:

Anita Sarkeesian, creator of an online video series analyzing problematic representations of women in video games, was forced to leave her home on Tuesday after death threats made online against herself and her family, Polygon reported.

“Some very scary threats have just been made against me and my family,” Sarkeesian posted on Tuesday. “Contacting authorities now.”

After confirming she had found a safe place to stay, Sarkeesian posted a screengrab of the threats, posted by a Twitter account calling itself “Kevin Dobson,” which identified her address and her parents, as well as several vulgar threats, including one to “ram a hot tire iron up [her] c*nt” (read the messages at Raw Story)

Sarkeesian reported the threats a day after she released a new episode of her series, Feminist Frequency, dealing with games that feature sexualized female victims or female characters introduced solely to highlight either a villain’s aggression or provide motivation for players to complete their missions.

The effect of introducing these “mature themes,” she argues in the episode, is the trivialization of painful experiences that are all too common….

“When games casually use sexualized violence as a ham-fisted form of character development for the bad guys, it reinforces a popular misconception about gendered violence by framing it as something abnormal, as a cruelty committed only by the most transparently evil strangers,” she says in the video. “In reality, however, violence against women — and sexual violence, in particular — is a common everyday occurence, often perpetrated by ‘normal men,’ known and trusted by those targeted.”

A few more links to interesting stories:

stonehenge

CNN, U.S. official says 1,000 Russian troops enter Ukraine.

Christian Science Monitor, UN: Ebola cases in W. Africa could top 20,000.

Wall Street Journal, Rebels in Syria Capture Border Crossing With Israel.

Reuters, U.S. air strikes on Syria would face formidable obstacles.

New York Times Video, Michael Brown’s Body (an amazing collection of interviews with residents of Michael Brown’s neighborhood).

Christian Science Monitor, What Republican wave? (Writer Doug Mataconis doesn’ think a Republican takeover of the Senate is inevitable).

E on Line, Discovery Channel’s Sons of Guns Canceled After Star Will Hayden Is Charged With Raping His 12-Year-Old Daughter.

Washington Post, Report reveals the horrors of 1,400 sexually abused children in a British town and the system that failed them.

WBUR Boston, Growing Number Of War Correspondents Work For Themselves.

Nature World News, Mystery of Sailing Stones Unveiled in Death Valley.

Discovery News, 2,700-Year-Old Phoenician Shipwreck Discovered.

Huffington Post, Archaeologists Discover 15 Previously Unknown Monuments Buried Around Stonehenge.

News.Com.AU, The truth about Stonehenge: New survey reveals more secrets

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a terrific Thursday!


45 Comments on “Thursday Reads: A Victory for Workers, Women Overcoming Misogyny, and Other News”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Great article regarding Market Basket and its determined employees! At last a victory for the little guys!

    But then again, some things never change. When I went to work in the hospital in the early 80s doctors were considered untouchable with regard to their behavior. I witnessed many putting their hands all over the nurses and other members of the female staff, making suggestive comments in their presence, and even pushing and shoving female staff members when they got into fits of pique. The advice was to “look the other way” since the docs held the power no matter the circumstance.

    It was the Anita Hill case they brought some of these practices to an end. Rules were established that brought some measure of justice against those practicing sexual harassment. Physicians who continued to act like idiots were brought to task and some of the overt abuse came to a halt.

    But here we are, decades later, still discovering that men of another generation still cling to the belief that women are secondary citizens and can be spoken to in the manner described in these attached articles.

    A rather sad commentary of just how far we have not advanced as a gender when the leaders of this country are still practicing the same tactics for “putting us in our place”.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Any woman who has had a job–or even walked down a public street!–knows what it’s like to have complete strangers comment on her body or even invade her space by touching her. It really is dispiriting that this behavior is being carried forward generation to generation, no matter how hard we try to change it.

      Fortunately or unfortunately, when you get past about 50, you become invisible, and you don’t have to deal with it so much anymore. You just cease to exist for many men, because it’s all about appearances and your mind doesn’t and has never mattered to them.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Let me tell you about the harassment in the field of Finance. I’ve got some stories for you and unfortunately, my 24 year old is reliving them today! Thanks for the great post! When I was going to spend time as a young mother in DC, I was told to never get in an elevator with Strom Thurmond because he grabbed asses there.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Dak. How is Temple doing?

      • dakinikat says:

        She’s really not feeling well but she ate her food,drank a lot of water and we slowly walked outside. I had to pick her up to put her into bed. All that wore her out. She chewed a little on her new stuffed toy and is snoozing now. She is definitely off her game but hanging in here.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Poor girl. It sounds like a slight improvement on last night though. I’m sending he good vibes!

          • dakinikat says:

            Yes. Other than the french fries I gave her on the way home yesterday, she didn’t eat. She just drank lots of water so having her eat is an improvement!

        • NW Luna says:

          It’s a good sign she’s got an appetite and is drinking well. Hope she gets better soon.

          • dakinikat says:

            The meds are really rough on her and the worms will be breaking up and going into her blood stream so the key thing for me is to keep her quiet.

  3. List of X says:

    Great news about Market Basket! Both because it shows that workers can win (or, at the very least, help one owner over the other), and also because I can finally shop there again.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    J.M. Ashby at The Daily Banter:

    Bobby Jindal is Not Done Trying to Ruin Education

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Matt Bors: Ferguson Police vs. Wall Street. If cops treated bankers the way Ferguson cops treat black people.

    View at Medium.com

  6. NW Luna says:

    Really great post, BB. It’s appalling that some (still) think women would be making this up.

  7. List of X says:

    Oh, and I don’t know if you’ve covered the story about Department of Defense’s 1033 program giving to New Orleans police things like snow camouflage parkas, snowshoes, mountain ski boots, and men’s scarves. It’s the same program that gives armored vehicles and grenade launchers to the police, but, apparently, it’s not just weapons:
    http://thelensnola.org/2014/08/21/snow-camouflage-mine-resistant-vehicle-among-metro-area-military-purchases/
    I wrote about it, too (http://listofx.com/2014/08/27/10-absolutely-essential-items-pentagon-gave-to-your-local-police/), if you’re interested. And if you’re interested what your local department got, here’s the link for that, too: http://bridge.caspio.net/dp.asp?AppKey=36701000b255adcfe6ca4b13a8a4

  8. bostonboomer says:

    NJ Woman working four jobs dies in her vehicle while trying to get some rest before her next job.

    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Parking-Lot-Death-Elizabeth-272846101.html#ixzz3BdXIk9rW

  9. bostonboomer says:

    CEO Apologizes After Video Footage Shows Him Repeatedly Kicking A Puppy

    The dog was removed from the owner, and there will likely be criminal charges.

    If only child abuse were handled so quickly.

    • janicen says:

      The puppy was just sitting there, calmly and quietly! Not that kicking an animal is ever justified but the dude could claim that he was correcting the puppy inappropriately for doing something wrong but the dog is doing nothing but sitting quietly!! If I were on the board of directors of that company

  10. NW Luna says:

    New labor movement needed to regain our democracy

    Looking forward to a long weekend away from the job? Having a holiday Monday, and even having a weekend to begin with, are the results of struggles by previous generations to make life better for Americans who earn a wage. We need a revival of that united effort right now. ….

    This year feels like the beginning of an awakening fed by escalating economic inequality.

    “No democratic country has ever been able to sustain such high levels of economic inequality,” George Lovell said in April during a conference titled “Labor and Politics in an Era of Inequality.” Lovell is chair of the University of Washington department of political science. The conference was put on by the UW’s Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.

    When inequality reaches the levels it has in the U.S., he said, there have been only two possible outcomes. Either a country makes policy changes that reduce inequality, or it dismantles democratic institutions. Taking the second option, a country limits public protests, voting and other rights that empower people who don’t have other ways (tons of money) to make themselves heard.

  11. NW Luna says:

    Insurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul. But consumer advocates warn that companies are still using wiggle room to discourage the sickest — and costliest — patients from enrolling.

    Some insurers are excluding well-known cancer centers from the list of providers they cover under a plan; requiring patients to make large, initial payments for HIV medications; or delaying participation in public insurance exchanges created by the overhaul. ….

    “It’s the same insurance companies that are up to the same strategies: Take in as much premium as possible and pay out as little as possible,” said Jerry Flanagan, an attorney with the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Joan Rivers hospitalized after she stopped breathing during throat procedure at a clinic (endoscopy).

    Judging by the retrospective stuff on Google, Rivers must be in serious condition. Her daughter is on the way to see her.

    • bostonboomer says:
    • bostonboomer says:

      Rivers is now in serious but stable condition.

      • dakinikat says:

        when has joan rivers ever been stable?

        • Delphyne49 says:

          Lol, Kat!

        • bostonboomer says:

          I guess people hate her. I don’t. She could still die, and I don’t think it’s funny. Sorry I posted it.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Rivers is in a medically-induced coma.

          • dakinikat says:

            Sorry, it was just snarky … I don’t find her funny, I find her mean

          • bostonboomer says:

            You have no idea how hard it is for a woman to make it in stand-up comedy even today. Rivers did it in the early 1960s when it was almost unheard of for a woman to do stand up. She paved the way for other women. I thought it fit it with the discussion of misogyny in the workplace, which is still extreme in comedy.

            I don’t like a lot of Rivers’ jokes either, but she was a female pioneer in a tough field, and I think that’s important. Not to mention that I don’t find anyone’s death particularly humorous. I’m weird that way, I guess. I’m done posting about it here anyway. I’m sorry I did it.

    • NW Luna says:

      A televangelist involved in money laundering & etc? Why am I not surprised… And a crony of the Bakkers.